Taylor bars have something to toast about this week.
“We were thankful to hear (the news) because it’s been a while coming,” said Tammy Struble, co-owner of The Loose Screw Craft Beer House & Garden with her husband, Don.
Loose Screw is among several bars in Taylor that has had to adjust to a world living with the COVID-19 pandemic. Legal restrictions have forced Loose Screw and others to resort to measures like curbside service at times.
“Some of it is just kind of crazy, like why our outside couldn’t have been open this whole time anyway,” said Struble. “Why we had to go jump hoops is a little ridiculous.”
Many businesses had to shut their doors when the pandemic hit Texas this past spring, and some will never open again. Since then, bars have been able to continue service through relaxed restrictions or other workarounds.
“Thankfully because of where we’re located here at (Old Taylor High), we were able to have a few little workarounds like we were able to move our picnic tables off of our property onto the private property of the lawn,” said Struble. “The building owner allowed us to do that, so we were still able to serve beer to go and they could go to the tables because they weren’t on our property.”
Still, the year has not been the same.
“We’re making enough to keep going and keep bills paid for the most part, but it isn’t nothing like business would’ve been this time of year,” said Struble. “We’re probably running at about 40-50%.”
Earlier this month though, bars like Loose Screw received toast worthy news.
On Oct. 7, Abbott issued Executive Order GA-32 to open bars and similar establishments in qualifying counties in Texas if the area does not have high hospitalizations and if the county judge signs an opt-in form to allow it. County Judge Bill Gravell signed and submitted his opt-in form to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Oct. 8 so that more Williamson County businesses can be open to serve the public.
“Williamson County residents have shown that they can follow guidelines established to stop the spread of COVID-19 and get back to business,” said Gravell.
As one era of the pandemic ends, another begins.
“We did what we had to do to survive basically,” said Struble. “We’ll see what this weekend brings us. It’ll be the first weekend where people can actually come inside and sit, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of change is in attendance and such.”
The state’s order doesn’t require businesses to open if they don’t want to. Ed’s Place near downtown Taylor has continued to serve customers but is keeping their doors closed for now.
“With much discussion and decision making, Ed's Place will remain with curbside service only,” said the establishment through their Facebook page. “Please check our page often for any updates. We appreciate your concerns, but mostly we appreciate your patronage.”
Loose Screw also intends to make sure everyone stays protected on their property through social distancing and other means.
“We did want to make sure that we assure that we are doing everything that we can to keep our community safe,” said Don Struble. “We’re going to do everything we can to be able to open and maximize our current situation while keeping our customers and our staff safe. That’s the priority.”