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TABC suspends 4 downtown Austin bars for not following COVID-19 policies

TABC suspends 4 Austin bars for not following COVID-19 policies

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Icehouse
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse is closed for 30 days due to violations. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot -WTFIcehouse/Facebook

UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, TABC announced it is also suspending the alcohol license for Soho Lounge on East Sixth Street.

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Three downtown Austin bars may not sell booze for 30 days after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission found they were violating protocols put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Over the weekend, TABC suspended the alcohol permits of a dozen bars across Texas, part of an initiative to make sure bars are observing best practices to curb coronavirus.

The program is called Operation Safe Open and is an effort by TABC agents to ensure that businesses across Texas are following protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19. Those include capacity limits of 50 percent indoors for bars and 75 percent for restaurants, along with social distancing of at least 6 feet between groups of customers.

In Austin, TABC closed the West Sixth Street location of UnBARlievable, as well as Buford's Backyard Beer Garden and Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse, both of which are also located on West Sixth.

TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles says in a release that they're going with zero tolerance.

"Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority," Nettles says. "We warned businesses TABC will have no tolerance for breaking the rules, and now, some bars are paying the price. I hope other establishments will learn from these suspensions."

Business are handed a 30-day suspension of their permit to serve alcohol.

TABC says that it is strictly monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency license suspensions if it finds violations.

The first infraction results in up to a 30-day license suspension. The second will result in up to a 60-day suspension.

The agency began enforcement on June 19, when they inspected more than 200 establishments. In the past month, agents have inspected more than 3,000 locations across the state.