Bars

Packed Bars Serve Up New Rounds Of COVID Contagion

As states ease their lockdowns, bars are emerging as fertile breeding grounds for the coronavirus. They create a risky cocktail of tight quarters, young adults unbowed by the fear of illness and, in some instances, proprietors who don’t enforce crowd limits and social distancing rules.

Public health authorities have identified bars as the locus of outbreaks in Louisiana, Florida, Wyoming and Idaho. Last weekend, the Texas alcohol licensing board suspended the liquor licenses of 17 bars after undercover agents observed crowds flouting emergency rules that required patrons to keep a safe distance from one another and limit tavern occupancy.

Adriana Megas found HandleBar Houston so crowded when she went one night two weekends ago that she left. “They weren’t counting who came in and came out,” said Megas, 38, a nursing student. “Nobody was wearing any masks. You would never think COVID happened.”

The owners of HandleBar Houston, one of

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