El Paso bartenders, owners prep for reopening amid pandemic


Some in the local bar industry say even though bars in El Paso are reopening one week later than the rest of Texas, they're already preparing.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Some in the local bar industry say even though bars in El Paso are reopening one week later than the rest of Texas, they’re already preparing.

Bars throughout Texas will reopen this Friday on the 22nd, but in El Paso, bars can’t open until the 29th.

“A lot of us have been out of work, just counting down the days for us to see everyone again. Going back to serving everybody, giving everyone a good time, because that was our livelihood and it just went away so quick,” Vivian Miller, a local bartender shared.

Some El Paso bartenders said they’re ready to get back to work even if it’s not exactly on the same timeline as the rest of the state.

“If the city officials and health think that it’s what is best for us, I think that we are in the right direction and one week is not going to really hurt us that much,” Manuel Barquin, Owner/Bartender at Church Bar in Downtown El Paso said.

“We’re actually really excited, whether it was this week or next week, we’re just excited that it’s around the corner,” Miller added.

As we’ve reported, there are guidelines and limitations that will be in place. Bars can only open at 25% capacity and patrons won’t be allowed to dance or order drinks at the bar top.

The owner of Dewey’s Corner Pub and Grill, Rico Velez, said he’s ready to reopen under these changes, but said some employees don’t feel quite ready yet which can affect staffing.

“Some of these employees do have those extended benefits and they still have a valid fear of being around people so they’d rather stay home, and their still able to maintain a lifestyle through the unemployment payments but it’s really difficult for us as owners to get those teams back, get those employees and rehire,” Velez explained.

As the date to reopen in El Paso approaches, bar owners have these messages for customers:

“Be patient, everything will get back to normal, hopefully very soon. We are human, we are creatures of habits so all the new habits you’ve picked up like washing your hands, not touching your face, not getting too close to people in the same household, we should all practice that throughout the whole reopening process,” Barquin shared.
“We’ve never had any issues abiding by any city laws, rules, regulations, and we will continue moving forward to provide the same entertainment, same service we had in the last 5 years,” Velez added.

Just a reminder, on the day when bars can open (May 29th), restaurants will be able to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%.

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