Katy Restaurants Open Dining Areas Under Strict Guidelines


May 1, 2020

By Natalie Cook Clark

Today is the day. Texas Governor Greg Abbott will allow restaurants to open for dine-in service as long as they meet a long list of guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Local restaurant owners worked to meet the new guidelines and prepared to welcome guests. However, some are opting to open Monday as concerns about reopening continue to be debated.

Texas Borders Bar & Grill gets ready to ensure social distancing when welcoming guests.

Authorities Will Watch for Compliance and Common Sense

“The Fire Marshal sets capacity as part of their occupancy permits,” says Major Chad Norvell with Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “Typically, it is based on how many can stand in the given square footage.”

“I know some people are eager to get out again and enjoy a meal,” says Jeff McShan with Harris County Constable Ted Heap’s Office, Precinct 5. “We just want people to continue to practice social distancing, wash hands, and use common sense.”

Local Restaurants Are Ready

“This has been a roller coaster ride that is unprecedented,” says Kevin Wann, co-owner of Texas Borders Bar & Grill. “It’s an amazing feeling. Kellie and I are beyond excited. It’s our life and what we live for.”

Katy’s Texas Borders Bar & Grill is one of many local restaurants that has been anxiously awaiting today’s reopening. They have been working to meet all guidelines laid out by the Governor’s report.

Over the last six weeks, we have been deep cleaning, organizing, and training,” says Wann. “Since Governor Abbott announced we could open this Friday, we have been in overdrive sanitizing floors, chairs, tables, bar, bar patio, everything.”

What Will 25% Look Like?

“We normally deal with restaurants and businesses being full or over capacity,” says Mark Flathouse, Fort Bend County Fire Marshal Emergency Management Coordinator. “We’ve had to recalculate, and 25% is now at capacity and see what that would look like.”

Flathouse sent an official message out to local businesses stating the guidelines that they require, and what law enforcement will be enforcing.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to wants to do what’s right,” says Flathouse. “If they adhere to this then they will be back in business.”

Table seating shall be limited to every other table at a minimum.

  • Table shall be 6-10 feet apart

  • No groups of more than 6 people

  • Patio areas or gated areas will also adhere to the same spacing and seating

Servers shall wear a mask at all times while on duty.

  • Businesses shall continue to monitor employees for any signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 and have a system in place to protect sick from working (example: temperature taking)

Waiting area need to address the six feet separation, and limit the waiting areas to follow the 25% capacity rule.

  • All areas will need to be cleared and kept up during open operations.