TABC suspends alcohol permits for three golf equipment in Houston for violating the COVID-19 protocol

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Following investigations by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission into violations of state requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19, alcohol permits for three Houston companies have been suspended.

Actions are taken after weekend inspections by TABC enforcement and audit staff.

The nightclubs involved are Grooves at 2300 Pierce St., Cle at 2301 Main St., and Spire at 1720 Main St.

All three companies are accused of violating Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order, which obliges companies that sell alcohol for self-consumption to adhere to capacity limits, as well as social distancing and masking requirements.

RELATED: ‘Spire’ Owner Defends Nightclub After Fire Department Closes It

Companies are entitled to a hearing before a state administrative judge to confirm the TABC decision. The urgent orders will remain in effect until the suspension or a judicial decision ends.

Over the weekend, the Spire was crowded, according to the Houston Fire Marshal’s office. Fire chief Samuel Pena said the club was given the opportunity to reopen within capacity guidelines, but management decided to close for the night.

“If there had been an emergency, a fire or something that happened inside, we would have had a massive loss of life because of the means of entry,” Pena said. “The exits were locked.”

Well before the Spire shutdown, city guides were concerned about the crowds in clubs and bars.

“I still get some disturbing pictures of people hanging out in clubs that have been classified as restaurants,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Saturday. “And let me tell you, they are not restaurants.”

Turner said he would urge TABC to take action against the reclassifications.

“When you look at these pictures, there is no food on the table,” said Turner. “This is crazy. I urge the state to review its policies.”

He said loopholes like these make it difficult for the city to get rid of COVID-19.

According to TABC, they conduct regular inspections to ensure companies meet government requirements. Since June 26, the authority has carried out almost 30,000 inspections and found fewer than 800 violations in total.

Club Spire’s liquor license has already been scrutinized. The license was suspended for violating social distancing guidelines in June when videos from inside surfaced.

ALSO SEE: Video shows large unmasked crowds at Spire Nightclub during a rap concert

Management told ABC13 at the time that they were allowed to open because, despite their name, it was classified as a reception hall rather than a nightclub in November 2019. Most of their income came from ticket sales, managers said. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officials said the club is likely to operate outside of the limits of its venue license, as permits are only reviewed every two years.

RELATED: Spire Nightclub Owner Says He and His Partners Accept the TABC Suspension

ABC13 found that most of the club’s 2020 revenue came from alcohol sales.

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