New Rule Allows Texas Bars to Remain Open by Serving Food

New Rule Allows Texas Bars to Remain Open by Serving Food
September 1, 2020 Levi Olmstead

In July, Texas restaurants were forced to reduce indoor seating capacities back down to 50 percent as COVID-19 spread throughout the state, while all bars, breweries, and other drinking businesses were forced to close entirely.

To be classified as a restaurant and remain open, businesses had to serve food that was maintained and prepared at on-site food service facilities & have alcoholic beverage sales make up less than 51 percent of the total sales.

However, on August 25th, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) ratified its regulations with a new emergency rule that provides Texas bars and breweries with a new path to reopen during COVID-19.

What Is the TABC?

The TABC stands for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The TABC is a government agency responsible for regulating the state’s alcohol production, sale, and consumption. It is currently the agency in charge of distributing the state’s Food & Beverage Certificate (FB Certificate.)

What Is the Texas Food & Beverage Certificate?

The Food & Beverage Certificate (FB Certificate) is a TABC license allowing Texas businesses to prepare and serve food on-site. The FB Certificate classifies a business as a restaurant, allowing these establishments to remain open COVID-19 (at 50 percent capacity.)

What Is the TABC’s New Emergency Amendment for Texas Bars & Breweries?

As of August 25th, the TABC’s new emergency amendment allows Texas bars and breweries to apply for a FB Certificate if they serve food that is prepared off-site by third-party restaurants and vendors. Texas bars and breweries must also have a dedicated space where food is dropped off, stored, and served by the vendor, as well as submit a floor plan.

The new amendment grants bars and breweries with the FB certificate for 120 days.

The Food & Beverage Certificate’s Requirements for Texas Bars & Breweries Include:

  • Serve food made on-site, by a local restaurant or food truck, or that is commercially pre-packaged.
  • Have designated food service facilities where food is either prepared or stored.
  • Offer at least two food entrees to customers.
  • Must serve food during all hours of operation.
  • Proof of food menu
  • Submitting a floor plan
  • Must project future sales, with alcoholic beverage sales making up less than 51 percent of the total sales. Businesses are able to project these numbers but meet them in order to keep the permit.

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So, Are Texas Bars & Breweries Currently Open?

Technically, all Texas bars and breweries have been ordered to remain closed. 

However, the new TABC rule change means bars and breweries who serve food prepared off-site by a local restaurant or food truck can apply for a FB Certificate – classifying the business as a restaurant and allowing them to remain open at 50% capacity during COVID-19.

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