By Barbara Moore, Assistant to the City Manager
Although COVID-19 continues to impact college towns across the country, many have found a glimmer of economic hope with the return of home football games. Texas A&M’s season begins this week and will bring much-needed relief to local businesses, despite the limited number of fans allowed at Kyle Field.
While tailgating may look a bit different, opportunities exist to help celebrate the Aggies in pre-game style.
The vast majority of our businesses, residents, and students are doing their best to follow COVID-19 guidelines. But there are a few key things to remember to have a fun, safe, and compliant game day experience.
Restaurants, outdoor seating, and alcohol
Recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott increased restaurant capacity to 75% of usual occupancy. Restaurants and other commercial entities can have temporary outdoor seating but must have enough parking for their customers. Fire lanes also must remain open.
Restaurants and other businesses with liquor licenses may serve alcohol in outdoor seating areas, but patrons cannot leave the enclosed area with alcohol. If you have questions about on-premise alcohol requirements, contact the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Bryan office at 979-260-8222 or visit tabc.texas.gov.
Tailgating and outdoor gatherings
Businesses and restaurants providing outdoor seating don’t need the mayor’s approval of more than 10 people for an outdoor gathering. However, the requirement still applies to other outdoor get-togethers, such as tailgate parties, ring dunk celebrations, birthday parties, and more.
To request the mayor’s approval for gatherings of more than 10, apply at cstx.gov/covid19.
Many College Station parks have pavilions available for rent. To reserve a pavilion, contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 979-764-3486. You’ll still need the mayor’s approval for outdoor events with 10 or more people.
In some cases, a planned gathering may be large enough to require a special event permit. A special event is defined as:
… a temporary event, gathering or organized activity held outside the confines of a building or permanent structure, including, but not limited to, meetings, entertainment, performances, shows, exhibitions, street fairs, rallies, races, concerts, carnivals, or amusements held on city-owned or private property and sponsored by an applicant who is expected to draw more than 200 attendees.
You need to apply for a special events permit at least 30 days before your event.
The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend businesses continue practicing COVID-19 protocols, including physical distancing among customers whenever possible.
Game days are critical to our community’s success, and we share your excitement about the return of Aggie football. With your help, we’ll host all our home games and welcome visitors to experience College Station while remaining safe and healthy.
If you have questions about COVID-19 requirements for businesses, tailgating, or other group gatherings, contact me at 979-764-6327.
Gig ‘em, Aggies!
About the Blogger
Barbara Moore is in her 14th year with the City of College Station and her second as assistant to the city manager. Barbara served 12 years as neighborhood services coordinator. She previously was the executive director of Family Outreach of Bryan/College Station and was the director of faith-based relations for the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. Barbara is a 1992 graduate of Jackson State and earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 1996.
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