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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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College Stations bar owners respond to new order

Photo by Kaylee Cogbill

Bars on Northgate like Tipsy Turtle and Paddock have implemented COVID-19 precautions.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced that beginning Oct. 14, bars can begin to operate at 50 percent capacity if their county governments allow, and Brazos County Judge Duane Peters approved the announcement soon after.
Although this order went into effect this week, many Northgate favorites have already begun another route to stay open: obtaining their Food and Beverage Licensing and beginning to operate as a restaurant. Operating in this manner, COVID-19 requirements are still in place to keep both bar staff and patrons safe. These requirements include 6-feet distancing of tables, partitions between booths and a maximum capacity of 75 percent occupancy, if possible while following other guidelines.
Hurricane Harry’s may look a little different than usual with tables on the normal dance floor, but General Manager Craig Lafleur said he is looking for a way to still provide Harry’s patrons with live concerts and food from Buppy’s Catering.
“It’s a constantly changing situation,” Lafleur said. “We are doing our best to follow the guidelines and keep this place open. One for customers to be able to come out and enjoy a show but also for our employees, we’re doing this for them to be able to make money.”
In order to comply with requirements of operating as a restaurant, Social Lounge has partnered with Taco Bar, who were regulars of the bar. Social Lounge general manager Nolan Townsend said that after normally acting as a club dance scene, it has been different adjusting to a table service establishment.
“In Social Lounge you would never see tables or chairs on the dance floor,” said Townsend. “In the beginning it was hard. At Social we have been primarily a dance club, people like to dance, move around and talk to each other.”
The businesses rely on consumers who are willing to follow the rules and still partake in the atmosphere of bars with a different aspect. Townsend said he encourages people to support business if they are able.
“If you’re sick, stay at home. If you have risk factors, take precautions. Otherwise, support your community by acting responsibility,” Townsend said. “We’re trying to serve as many people as we can, the more cooperation we get the better service they will get and the faster this will end.”
Draconian Lounge has adapted by enlarging their outdoor seating area in order to allow for more customers to sit outside. Assistant manager Brady Dean said they have also had to change some of the ways their traditional shots work in order to comply with certain rules, but they have been able to add items to their menus such as sake bombs and margarita pitchers.
“I think everyone should consider it a privilege that we are able to open. Anywhere you go out on Northgate it is going to be the same rules,” Dean said. “If you’re standing up you have to wear a mask, most of your alcohol purchases are going to have to be accompanied by food. We are all in this together, I want to see everybody comply, it helps us out. The more compliance we do, we slow the spread [and] the faster things will go back to normal.”
Owner of Paddock and Tipsy Turtle Aaron Curs has used this time to make some repairs that the establishments had needed. Curs said he believes college kids are working towards a better future by following the rules.
“It’s just how you look at it, it’s how full your cup is,” Curs said. “Next fall when we’re the defending national champions in football, it will be a hell of an after party. Let’s all just stay safe and try and abide by the rules so no one loses their business.”
The bars have had to think on their feet, as they have had to make sure that they are following the proper precautions. Curs said the hardest part has been the constant anxiety of the unknown as guidelines constantly change for everyone.
“The main thing that has kept everyone fighting is it is the same rules for everybody,” Curs said. “The silver lining is that we have all come together closely, bars, restaurants, all of it. We’re all on one team, let’s all fight each other later but let’s make sure that everyone can fight later.”
With these COVID-19 guidelines, the bars have received some pushback from patrons. However, the establishments are adamant about upholding the rules, Dean said.
“It’s new to everybody, and we understand that but it’s kind of the new normal for now and we have to get used to it,” Dean said. “In general we have had pretty good compliance, we are very strict with our mask rules. If I ask somebody to put their masks on and they do it and I see them again without the mask on, I am going to go ahead and escort them out because there are going to be people outside willing to comply with our rules.”

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