The delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread through Austin, causing an alarming increase in the number of positive cases and hospitalizations in the area and leading local bars and restaurants to reevaluate their safety practices. Last week, the city escalated into the highest and most stringent tier of its COVID safety guidelines, Stage 5, in an attempt to ease the stress on the local healthcare systems.
While the City of Austin is not allowed to legally enforce a mask mandate due to state orders, individual businesses can dictate their own rules while honoring the executive order that states that companies that have received government loans cannot require or ask for documentation of vaccinations. Likewise, because of a recent Senate bill, restaurants and bars cannot require proof of vaccinations due to the threat of losing their liquor permits by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
In light of this, Eater is tracking the Austin restaurants and bars that are reverting back to COVID restrictions, including the requirement of masks for staffers and customers despite vaccination statuses, the closure of indoor dining rooms, and/or the continuation of takeout services. Although masks may be mandatory at these locations, people are allowed to take off their masks for eating and drinking purposes when seated at a restaurant or bar.
Everything below is listed in alphabetical order.
Brentwood Social House
1601 West Koenig Lane, Brentwood
The cafe mandates that everyone wears masks when inside the space and assures that its staff is vaccinated.
East Side Pies
All locations of the pizza chain have kept their indoor areas closed. Guests are asked to wear masks for pickups and when interacting with staff, who will also wear masks.
2717 South Lamar Boulevard, South Lamar
Guests dining inside or picking up food from the Mexican restaurant will have to wear masks. The entire staff will wear masks as well.
1703 South First Street, Bouldin Creek
Masks are required for everyone while indoors. The restaurant can no longer require proof of at least one vaccination shot to dine indoors because of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Hotel Vegas & Volstead
1502 East Sixth Street, East Austin
The sibling bars and venues say that people have to don masks when “stationary” (aka seated or standing in place) inside of the spaces. Customers are “strongly encouraged” to wear masks outdoors. Additionally, the bars have limited the capacity maximum in light of the drastic increase in positive COVID case numbers.
2115 Holly Street, Holly
Customers must wear masks when dining inside the restaurant. The restaurant can no longer require proof of at least one vaccination shot to dine indoors because of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
1000 East 11th Street, Central East Austin; 4805 Burnet Road, Brentwood
Staff and guests of the Chinese restaurants will have to wear masks.
Once Over Coffee
2009 South First Street, Bouldin Creek
In order to go inside the coffee shop, customers must wear masks.
2200 Aldrich Street, Mueller
The vegan cheese deli closed its indoor dine-in area and now allows only four masked customers inside the store at the same time when shopping. The deli’s patio is still open.
Salt & Time
1912 East Seventh Street, East Austin
The butcher shop and restaurant orders diners to wear masks. The restaurant also noted that its staff will wear masks and that it has installed a new ultraviolet light filtration system within its HVAC system.
100 West North Loop Boulevard, North Loop
The bar is requiring masks.
Violet Crown Clubhouse
7100 Woodrow Avenue, Crestview
The cafe/bar/ice cream shop requires masks when inside of the space. There is a patio too.
Update, August 20, 11:32 a.m.: This article, originally published on August 9, has been updated to include additional restaurants offering COVID-19 mitigation policies.