DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Memorial Day Weekend usually means big business for Dallas area bars and restaurants.
But the wet weather, coupled with coronavirus concerns, affected some establishments more than others.
Last weekend marked Gov. Abbott’s second phase of reopening Texas, allowing bars to reopen at 25% capacity, while allowing restaurants to reopen at 50% capacity.
For many bars, it was the first time reopening to the public since the pandemic-related closures began.
Dallas resident Alexandra Toribio was so shocked by what she saw Saturday night while driving through Deep Ellum, she asked a relative to start recording the scene from the passenger’s seat.
“Nobody seemed concerned or like they were holding back,” Toribio said. “They were standing in crowds, hanging out, it was regular Deep Ellum outside, people having fun, music blasting.”
Heavy rain dampened some expectations, pushing some spots like The Rustic to pivot.
“We do have half our business on the patio because we have such a beautiful patio so that presents challenges to keep everyone inside,” said Bryan Harris, the general manager of The Rustic.
On Monday, customers arrived at The Rustic as soon as doors opened. Some patrons said they tried to make the best of a rainy holiday when they otherwise would have spent time outside.
“Our initial plan was to be outside and bike, but given the circumstance of the weather, we figured we’d be inside and eat some good food,” said customer Andrew Harrison.
But Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is urging caution. He asked residents to still opt for takeout or delivery when possible.
“We want to keep economic recovery going. The best way to do that is not to have a second way of COVID brought about by people being around strangers,” Jenkins said. “Just wait a little longer if you want to do what’s safe according to local health experts to patronize things like bars.”
While Toribio said she’s not ready to venture outside, she understands why others might.
“It’s a double-edged sword. I know where the businesses are coming from, they’re trying to feed their families and make sure their businesses stay open,” Toribio said. “At the same time, we as people need to gather, we could also be doing our part to stop the spread so it’s really prioritizing how important it is to go out drinking with your friends right now.”
The Greater Dallas Restaurant Association says it’s too early to tell how well establishments fared over Memorial Day Weekend.
The City of Dallas said information about which establishments received citations over the weekend will be made available on Tuesday.