EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – While many El Paso businesses have opened their doors at a limited capacity, some have kept their doors closed, but that will change this coming Wednesday.
Lawrence Davenport, owner of Downtown’s Berkeley Cocktail Lounge, says his businesses has been closed since March of 2020 and it will be back in business on March 10.
“I just had tears of joy, so now I’m just excited to get back in here and get going,” said Davenport.
Governor Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that all Texas businesses could open at full capacity next Wednesday and lifted statewide mask mandates.
Davenport said he’s working with his team to put safety protocols in place. He said he tried to remain patient over the past year but was losing patience after seeing multiple bars convert to restaurants.
“One morning, I just woke up frustrated and was like if all these restaurants and everything that just become bars and they can stay open till two o’clock, why cant a bar just open up,” said Davenport. “As long as were following protocol and trying to keep people safe I didn’t see any reason why we should still be closed.”
Deadbeach Brewery, which is also Downtown, has also been closed since last March only offering to-go orders. But the business’s owners plan to reopen on Friday, March 12.
Only their patio area will be available and will operate at a limited capacity.
“It’s been a struggle for the past year to choose to remain closed, even though we did curbside pickup it’s not the same as having people here,” said Veronica Hernandez the Marketing Director for Deadbeach Brewery. “Obviously revenues and things are not the same as they used to be.”
During a press conference on Wednesday morning Mayor Oscar Leeser and El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego spoke about how the community of El Paso is still encouraged to wear masks and that if the hospitalization rate does go back up, we could see another complete shutdown of businesses.
“If we go back up seven days over 15 percent then we will have to go back down to 50 percent,” said Oscar Leeser the Mayor of El Paso. “If we do 100 percent of the masks, we’ll be able to stay open 100 percent.”
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says he believes that if El Paso goes back to a shutdown it will be because of bars reopening.
“Any place where we could create issues and create congregation it’s going to be at the bar settings,” said Samaniego.
Mayor Leeser emphasized the importance of all businesses opening safely adding that he has received hundreds of phone calls from business owners asking to be allowed to reopen.
“Those businesses that now will have that ability to open up need to not only take that ability but the responsibility to do it right so we don’t have to, not only them being impacted but also other businesses because we will go back,” said Leeser.