TABC pursues permanent changes to food + beverage rules in Austin bars

The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission expanded a relaxation of requirements to help bars during the coronavirus with a plan to make that relaxation permanent in 2021.

At its December 15 meeting, the TABC approved an extension of an emergency amendment that will allow bars to more easily qualify for a food and beverage certificate by lifting some of the restrictions.

This includes:

  • There is no need to invest in expensive equipment.

  • Removal of the requirement that food must be prepared on site; Catering service is enough.

The new extension runs until February 20, 2021. Applicants must continue to comply with all applicable governor’s executive orders and minimum standards for health protocols.

The change in urgency was first adopted in August. It allowed bars to reopen and work; Now you can go on like this.

Bar owners still need to apply for a food and drink permit. TABC’s relaxed restrictions have no bearing on what happens in individual cities that are signing new occupancy certificates to accompany these changes.

The commission also took the first step to make these changes permanent by voting for the Rule 33.5 emergency changes to be published on the Texas Register. There will be a public comment phase, and then TABC can take the next step, says spokesman Chris Porter.

“The commission has instructed staff to start publishing a new rule that will make changes permanent, probably early next year,” he says.

“Up to three-quarters of businesses could be forced to close if there wasn’t a change to make it easier to run as a restaurant. This only reduces costs and equipment while ensuring they can meet health and safety standards. ” “Says Porter.“ In the days leading up to the pandemic, there wasn’t much demand for bar conversions. But for the growing number of businesses looking to function as a restaurant, this is one way to support those businesses. “

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