NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Mixed messaging on COVID-19?

For the moment, bars remain closed; but, Governor Greg Abbott has ramped up speculation about a possible reopening.

The Governor taking to Twitter on Monday to say “Texans have continued to keep COVID under control” and “I will be announcing more openings soon.” The post ended with a GIF of beer mugs toasting and “Cheers!!!”.

But, are we toasting too soon? Both Dallas and Tarrant county health directors today warned local leaders that the COVID numbers were trending in the wrong direction.

“COVID (hospital) admissions are starting to go back up and that’s another indication… showing worrisome potential for trends that we are seeing,” said Dr. Phil Huang, Dallas County Health Director in his regular briefing to County Commissioners. “The last two weeks have seen increases, not explosive, but very concerning.”

Meanwhile, one Dallas bar operator says patrons have become accustomed to social distancing restrictions and while he wants everyone to stay safe, he’d also like to see restrictions lifted. Oh, yes, he’d also like to see an apology from Gov. Abbott.

“I know so many people that are out of work right now,” says Timm Zbylut, General Manager at Lee Harvey’s in the Cedars neighborhood, just south of Downtown Dallas. “I know so many that have had to close their doors, all because of a double standard in my opinion.”

Zbylut says it’s been frustrating that bars in restaurants and hotels were allowed to remain open– while he’s had to cut through more red tape and spend more money to get a special permit to reopen. Lee Harvey’s has a commercial kitchen and has always served food, they sell more booze than burgers, so the state considers them a bar.

“If it’s public safety–which I don’t think it is– close everything down,” says Zbylut, close every thing down, if it’s public safey. The double standard is you can go to any chain restaurant and do the same thing you’re doing here.”

As for the governor’s social media hint, Zbylut, says he’d rather have that apology: and a firm reopening to help those that haven’t been able to pivot to restaurant service.

“For the Governor to tweet a little beer mug picture is not enough– he needs to open with an apology. Our customers didn’t quit drinking– they just went somewhere else.”

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