By STEFAN MODRICH
As you’ve likely already read, our editor Adam Zuvanich first reported the news that Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced he was going to opt-in to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that establishes a pathway for bars, brewpubs and wineries within George’s jurisdiction to reopen for on-site consumption today.
Fort Bend County and much of the Greater Houston area has been hitting pivotal benchmarks in terms of lowering total COVID-19 cases and infection rates.
And that’s why it’s so crucial that we continue to build on these positive trends by continuing to flatten the curve and maintain the good habits that have gotten us on the right track.
Know that no matter who you’re interacting with in a retail or commercial setting nowadays, that essential workers are still putting their lives on the line for you, and they’re not only the first responders and medical workers, as noble and vital as they are to our continued prosperity.
I’m sure the temptation for many of you upon returning to your favorite watering hole for the first time in several months will be to want to breathe a sigh of relief and let your guard down.
Please, for your sake and mine, be prudent and careful when you’re around others at your local establishments. Be courteous to and patient with your servers, bartenders, bouncers, and any other service-industry employee who has been afforded the opportunity to provide for themselves again.
While many Houston-area bars have been adaptable and kept their businesses afloat, some smaller places haven’t been so fortunate, and while they’ll be thrilled to reopen, they’re going to still struggle under the 50 percent capacity cap that Abbott has placed for the time being.
And for the time being, it’s still the right thing to do. We all have a part to play in making this work, and in my conversations with local officials about the efficacy of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), small business owners need to know that they’re not messing around and will quickly shut down anyone who’s been skirting their regulations.
So please socially distance and don’t flout the rules by packing your bar full of people like the crowds out at Los Angeles’ Staples Center after Sunday night’s Los Angeles Lakers victory clinched an NBA title and made many onlookers — including myself — very nervous about the possibility of a second wave of cases proceeding from a lack of discipline and focus on what’s most important right now: the health and well-being of our friends, family and neighbors.
There’s a lot riding on us making this work. We can showcase that the most diverse county in the U.S. is also its most innovative, adaptable, resilient and health-conscious.
So let’s raise a glass, and pass on clinking them together for now. Let’s strive to mask up and stay socially distant and not have any new cases linked to bars, brewpubs or wineries. If we can do that, then I’ll be happy to say that the first round of drinks are on me.