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Texas threatens to yank liquor permits from restaurants requiring vaccination proof

The state liquor authority says it's already arranging meetings with suspected transgressors.
Photograph: Shutterstock

With restaurants across the country voluntarily adopting vaccine requirements for guests and staff, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is warning businesses in its state that they could lose their liquor licenses if they join the parade.

In a website posting updated Thursday, the liquor authority said it has already requested meetings with businesses suspected of adopting a proof-of-vaccination requirement for guests and staff. 

No sanctions have yet been levied, the agency said. But it indicated transgressors will be reminded that a mandate of that sort is illegal under state law. “TABC may require compliance with this law as a condition of holding a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization,” it said in what it characterized as a reminder to all enterprises within the state.

A bill prohibiting businesses from requesting proof of vaccinations against COVID-19 was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 7. County and municipal governments were banned earlier from setting a vaccine mandate or any other localized safety measure that differs from state guidelines or protocols.

Face mask requirements are also prohibited. Dallas County opted to defy the ban in schools and indoor public places and is now being challenged in court by Abbott’s administration.

Similar bans were adopted by Florida.

The warning from the TABC comes as restaurateurs in many states—reportedly even in Texas—are limiting entry to dine-in guests who can prove they’ve been inoculated against COVID-19. The proof of inoculation has or will soon be mandated of restaurant guests in San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York City.

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