Austin restaurants and bars respond to relaxed restrictions
It was a busy Saturday at the B&J Bar and Grill. Waiters took orders left and right, bartenders made drinks quickly, and staff say this energy can be felt at night as well.
Under Governor Walz’s old restrictions, bars were forced to close at 11 p.m. But now they can stay open all night. “We were open until 1pm last night. It was nice and busy and it felt good, the vibe was amazing,” said Flategraff.
But even with the facility now operating at 75% capacity, Amber says she wishes all tables could be full to 100% capacity and asks Governor Walz to do more, “It would be nice to bring it back to 100%. Percent it affects everyone in different ways, you know? As long as it takes the necessary steps to bring it back to what it was before the shutdown, I understand some of the decisions everyone has a right to his own opinion, one step at a time time, we are getting there, ”said Flategraff.
Down the street from the B and J Bar and Grille is the Bakery Lounge. In February, when Governor Walz announced that restaurants and bars were limited to opening their businesses until 11 p.m., owner Curtis Sorenson said at the time more needed to be done, “The data does not show that bars and restaurants are a hot spot. Why 11pm? If we can be open and have 50% capacity, why do we have to close at 11am? ”Sorenson said.
But now Curtis says that Governor Walz’s move is a step in the right direction for his business, but he also adds that he wants the governor to do more: “It’s great, it feels like a lot weight is weighing on our shoulders. We would like to see the absence of masks as well. The vaccinations are approaching the 70% that he was talking about. We have everything available. All the employees are doing it but at this point I think it’s is a nuisance more than anything, “Sorenson says.
But having the freedom to stay open until 1:00 am, Sorenson says, was an incredible feeling: “It was really cool last night, I got calls around 1:00 am, we had a big crowd. Everyone was there, not until the end, like a normal Friday night at 1:00 am should be, ”Sorenson said.