EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Business owners are adapting to the new normal as Texas enters phase three of reopening while COVID-19 cases and misinformation continue to surge.
A post that circulated Thursday on Facebook claimed the manager at Mulligan’s Spirits in East El Paso was positive for COVID-19 and that the bar was remaining open despite the risk of exposure to others.
This was untrue but quickly gained traction online.
KTSM 9 News reached out to Randy Magee, one of the owners of the bar who says the proper protocol was followed but all three locations were closed from the potency to the rumors.
According to Magee, the manager was not working after he learned of his positive diagnosis on Wednesday.
The manager quarantined himself immediately and Magee says he contacted TABC for guidance on best practices.
TABC recommended that all staff members be tested — which they have — and said the bar did not have to close.
Magee took further precautions that extended to his other business locations.
“I polled my staff at all three bars to see who wanted to go home the same day after talking with the TABC,” Magee tells KTSM 9 News. “And a handful decided to work because they needed the income so I opened one of the three bars for them and kept the other two closed until results came back in.”
Magee says the manager who tested positive never went to any of the bars on Wednesday after receiving his results.
Rumors like the post on Facebook went viral, and Magee decided to close the remaining location that was open until all test results come in.
This incident is an example of the new procedures business owners are implementing now that economies have reopened. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 43 percent of small businesses underwent closures during the early phase of the pandemic.
New challenges are emerging as business owners weigh financial risks against public health concerns, adding further responsibility to an already stressful position.
The precarious situation is compounded by social media posts that are not accurate.
“We opened the bar for our employees who requested it after the TABC said that we could,” said Magee.
“And then closed due to the rumors.”