SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Bar and Nightclub Association encouraged bars across the state to turn on their lights and turn up their music Friday night.

The initiative was called “Turn Up the Lights,” which aimed to show the community that they were ready to reopen.

“I think the biggest question everybody has is when are we coming back,” said bar owner Sergio Acosta.

Acosta is the owner of Social Spot on Broadway, which has been open for three years. His new bar Espuelas on Austin Street opened in February only to be shut down less than a month later.

Texas bars will ‘Turn up the Lights’ Friday night in solidarity

“I mean, it just completely changed the game for us and so we had to completely change our model,” he said.

Many bar owners across the state hope to see business get to normal. Several bars turned on their lights but not for customers. Instead, it was a message of solidarity.

“Bar owners across Texas are just at their wits’ end. When is enough, enough?” said bar owner Braunda Smith.

The TBNA recommends bars follow guidelines that include single-use plastic cups and wearing masks during operating hours.

Smith is the owner of Lucy Cooper’s Icehouse off San Pedro Avenue. She said it has been frustrating watching other businesses reopen and people get back to work.

Smith wants the same for her staff, who she considers family.

“It’s the best thing to do. These kids haven’t worked in two months.”

She welcomed them back and informed them she would pay their light bill. Megann Hancock said something like that goes a long way.

“Just like other families out there and jobs that are already open, that’s their only source of income, and this is my only source of income,” said Hancock.

Despite being out of a job for the time being, she said she remains hopeful about the future.

“It would be nice to just get back to being open and part of the community again,” Hancock said.

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