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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Would Reopen Bars If COVID-19 Positivity Rate Dropped Below 10 Percent

There’s a new app that maps out Texas breweries, and more news

Small Victory
Austin bar Small Victory remains temporarily closed amid the pandemic
Robert J. Lerma/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Texas Bars Could Potentially Reopen If COVID-19 Cases Drop
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that he’d consider reopening bars in the state if the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations decrease a lot, as reported by Texas Tribune. Those declines would also have to be accompanied by a statewide positivity rate drop of below 10 percent for a long time period.

“When you go to bars,” Abbott said during the conference, “you don’t go in there and go to an isolated location. People come together. When you’re drinking, you’re not wearing a mask, you’re taking your mask off. After you’ve had several drinks, some people become fairly intoxicated and less likely to use discipline that is needed to make sure they are avoiding spreading COVID-19.”

Abbott had allowed restaurants to reopen for dine-in services on May 1, followed by bars on May 22. Then the governor suddenly ordered the shutter of all bars and rolled back restaurants’ dining capacities, on June 29, just before Fourth of July weekend and during a time when the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were rapidly increasing. (Currently, Texas bars can attempt to reclassify as restaurants depending on current food and alcohol sales.)

Texas just exceeded 10,000 deaths related to the virus as of yesterday, and an estimated number of 127,099 active cases (the state’s total confirmed case count is 542,950). The state’s current positivity rate is 11.9 percent, according to Covid Act Now.

Pizzeria of the Year
Revered Austin pizza spot Via 313 was named the best pizzeria in the country by pizza trade publication Pizza Today this month. Co-owners and co-founders Brandon and Zane Hunt grew the business from a single food truck in 2011 into a sprawling empire across the city with multiple trucks and restaurants.

In response to the pandemic, the restaurants and trucks switched to takeout only, operating at 60 percent of its usual sales, according to the publication. The brothers also spoke about how the company takes care of its staff, by offering health insurance to even their part-time employees, making sure people aren’t overworking hours, adding a service charge to bills which is given to the employees, and offering cell phones and mileage reimbursement for managers.

New Texas Brewery App
There’s a new Texas brewery mobile app courtesy of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild as of last week. The Texas Brewery Explorer App allows users to look up brewery information in the state (noting which breweries are temporarily closed, which are offering to-go beers only, and which have reopened their taprooms, beer gardens, and patios), as well as create their own brewery maps, earn badges, and get rewards. The application is available for iOS and Android. It was developed with Daruma Tech division Brewers Marketing.

Austin Bars Create a Bee-Friendly Garden
Scotland distillery Aberfeldy is creating a community garden/bee sanctuary in Austin with local beekeeper Tara Chapman of Two Hives Honey and bartenders from Little Brother, Fairmont Austin, and Rosedale Kitchen & Bar. The garden, in conjunction with nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership, will feature bee-friendly flowers and herbs, which will also be used for cocktails at each establishment. This Gardening Giveback Project is part of the distillery’s single-malt scotch launch in Austin. It started on August 15 and runs through September. It’s taking place in seven other cities.

Via 313 Pizza

3016 Guadalupe Street, , TX 78705 (512) 358-6193 Visit Website

Nickel City

212 South Main Street, , TX 76104 (512) 987-4294 Visit Website

Fairmont Austin

101 Red River Street, , TX 78701 (512) 600-2000 Visit Website

Rosedale Kitchen & Bar

3800 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78756