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Restaurant goers seen gathering in groups as Colleyville becomes among first to open patios for business

Colleyville businesses were among the first in Texas to partially reopen Friday, the same day Tarrant County reported its highest single total of positive cases.

COLLEYVILLE, Texas — Customers arrived early and often to area restaurant patios, the morning they were allowed to reopen, as authorized by a controversial proclamation by mayor Richard Newton.

By Friday evening, large groups could be seen gathered in front of a couple restaurants in town, waiting for a place to sit.

The new city guidelines allow restaurants with patios to seat customers outside, as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. 

Cosmetologists, barbers, personal trainers and massage therapists can also accept one-on-one appointments, according to the proclamation.

Customers arrived first thing in the morning to Benny’s Café, where owner Benny Polisi said having even a few tables open per day will help keep him in business.

“This is a big deal,” Polisi said. “This is going to help.”

Kelsey Rodriguez, her husband and children were among the first people to sit down and order. 

“We love Benny’s,” Rodriguez said. “Benny’s is a small town business we want to support.”

Not everyone in Colleyville welcomes the idea of partially reopening businesses as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in D-FW. Some took to the city’s social media pages calling the move irresponsible and disappointing.

RELATED: Non-essential businesses prepare to open their doors in Colleyville

Gloria’s Latin Cuisine in the Town Center Colleyville shopping center was so crowded, customers had to wait in line for the few available tables, often ignoring social distancing recommendations. 

Credit: WFAA
People line up outside Gloria's Latin Cuisine in Colleyville on April 24, 2020. The city became the first to reopen restaurant patios for business.

Just feet away, however, neighboring massage parlors and salons remained closed.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation warns city proclamations do not supersede Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order. Officials say stylists, barbers and massage therapists treating customers in Colleyville or anywhere else could face a fine of up to $1,000 and 180 days in jail, plus administrative fines and punishments from the TDLR.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission says restaurants could face similar penalties.

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