On Friday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order closing bars and requiring restaurants operate at no more than 50% occupancy.
In the past few months, not everyone has abided by shutdown orders, like in the case of Shelley Luther, who became the mockingjay for the reopener movement by refusing to close Salon à la Mode, the business she owns in Dallas. Luther received national attention and support from Sen. Ted Cruz and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
In May, The Basement Bar in Fort Worth also took a stand against a shut-down, along with several other bars in the city. The Basement called coronavirus a “hoax,” and those opposing their decision to reopen “Karens” and “Carole Baskins.”
On Sunday, Fort Worth live music bar The Rail Club announced that it will reopen on July 3, despite Abbott's order. The bar's post was, at the very least, far more diplomatic than The Basement Bar's.
“In my prior hazmat career it was my job to analyze chemical spills and fires for the best plan of action,” owner Chris Polone posted on Facebook. “You are trained to study all variables before making a move. ... But sometimes the only/best plan of action is to run head on into the flames ... which is what I intend to do now with The Rail Club.”
In the statement, Polone says: “As of 2020 Private Businesses clearly have no rights. And even worse cherry picked compensation with interest rates on funds that could be made organically. ... Your mixed beverage taxes are due on the 20th of every month (15%) so it's a little ironic that they shut bars down with no warning last Friday after everyone had paid the comptroller and inventory with a self life was purchased. ... Capitalism at it's finest..”
Polone notes that theme parks Hurricane Harbor and Six Flags are operating at capacity.
While information on COVID-19 prevention has often been contradictory, several studies indicate that it has a higher propensity to spread in small indoor spaces.
Polone also said the order targets bars over a mere technicality — the sale of food.
“Restaurants w/bars can still host live music and they are packed. ... The only difference between them and I is we are 51% Alc. [alcohol] sales which for some reason means that we put COVID in our drinks or something,” he wrote.
The owner says the bar will continue to host events until “Gun/trade shows, conferences, amusement parks, water parks, Chuck E Cheese and other gathering type places are mandated to close.”
The Dallas Chuck E. Cheese on Montfort Drive confirmed in a phone call that the location is open from 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. daily and allows up to 198 people at a time, although the employee we spoke to says they have not had more than 25 people at a time and they do require everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask.
“My staff and myself have and will continue to work our asses off to protect our home, and I want to assure everyone that I will not allow our home to be a casualty because of all the craziness in 2020," Polone told the Observer on June 3.
The Rail Club Live says they will continue to decontaminate surfaces and to require masks in addition to other safety measures.
“My organization has been put in a position where this is our only option and I am more than ready to make a stand to ensure that my staff is protected and have the ability to feed their children,” the bar said in the statement. “...Enough is enough. It is time to stand in solidarity with one another, it is time to end this emotional and financial roller coaster. We will either succeed or we will become martyrs."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.