Local bar owners sticking to strict guidelines as Texas continues to reopen

Posted at 5:32 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 18:32:51-04

Freight in Waco has just hit its one year anniversary, but it hasn’t been easy. The has been open for a little over a month since the start of the pandemic, but has continued operations as a restaurant to save the business.

“So we opened in October and closed down in March. Anybody that’s started a business, especially a bar, knows that at six months is when you should be transitioning from your starting capital to your operating capital to keep you going, and we kind of had that rug pulled out from under us just as we were getting our footing,” said owner Kendall Cockrell.

On October 14, bars in McLennan County reopened, but with strict regulations. Bars must operate at 50% capacity, and people must remain seated while eating and drinking. In addition, all staff members must wear face masks, and customers must wear face masks until they are seated.

“My business partner and I, both of our dads spent a week in the ICU back in the summer, so we take it very seriously, but we also know that people are wanting to go out, so we are very proud to be able to provide as safe of place as possible for them to come,” said Cockrell.

“We average anywhere between 50 to 70 cases per day, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you think about our county and the size, we want to see those numbers get down, and what it takes is continuing social distancing, wearing masks, all the things we have been doing continuously,” said McLennan County Health District Public Information Officer Kelly Craine.

As Texas continues to reopen and the holidays inching closer, officials say there are ways to celebrate while remaining safe.

“There are some people that would prefer we be more lax about the rules, but most of the people that come here know what to expect, and anybody who’s seeing this knows they can expect us to be following all of the guidelines,” said Cockrell.

“Wearing those masks. Practicing social distance. Even if you have like a big, big holiday, or you have big plans, scale those down. Think about who you are with,” urged Craine.

Due to the Governor Abbott's order, bars must stop alcohol sales at 11 p.m. However, many bars are continuing to have food on their menus in order to operate as restaurants and qualify for staying open longer.