DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood, the streets were once again alive with music and with people.
Very few of those who felt safe venturing out Friday night wore masks and on the sidewalk there was little distance being kept.
Inside bars, though, workers covered their faces and tables were spaced out.
“Feels great. Feels really good,” said Michael Glass, who came out for a drink.
His mother, Nancy, was happy to see things back up and running.
“I think you get sicker staying inside and what that does to you up here,” said Nancy Glass, gesturing to her head.
J.R. Munoz said he was scared in March by both the virus and the indefinite closure of his bar, Will Call.
When he opened his doors again Friday afternoon, he said he found about a dozen customers waiting to walk inside.
“To have that love waiting there the minute we open back up was cool,” he said.
He’s had to direct some away from ordering at the bar to tables where, under new state regulations, customers need to be seated to be served.
“People aren’t used to having rules like that,” he said.
Down the street, the sign at Louie Louie’s Piano Bar made it clear that it’s not opening yet, as much as it’s owner would like to.
“Most everyone is dying to get open and get some kind of cash flow going because we obviously we’re broke,” said Ronnie Wilson.
His business, he says, is based on an atmosphere that’s hard to create while complying with state orders to cap occupancy at 25%.
“Part of the fun is walking in there and having a big group of people. And, everyone is laughing and joking and having a good time. We can’t do that,” he said.
As of Friday, restaurants are now able to allow up to 50% occupancy, as long as they can keep tables six feet apart.
A manager at Stirr said it had waited for the 50% occupancy allowance to re-open.
At Will Call, Munoz is hopeful the current restrictions are a temporary step toward getting back to normal. For now, he’s grateful to see his business survived being closed two months.
“That’s tough. But we did it. And we’re here,” he said.