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Police, code enforcement to monitor crowds as bars reopen

Restaurants have been limited to 25% capacity for weeks and were allowed to expand to 50% on Friday. Bars are allowed to reopen Friday at 25% capacity.

They've been shut down for weeks but the barstools have been dusted off and owners are ready to open.

But authorities are concerned about the possibility of large crowds.

Harris' House of Heroes on McKinney Avenue in Uptown Dallas was packed Wednesday night. 

Patrons are supposed to be 6 feet apart. But people packed the outdoor patio that night, and code enforcement shut down Harris' House of Heroes and Gaslight, the business next door. 

"You can't control what people do outside," said Billy Clark, the lawyer for Harris' House of Heroes. 

Clark says there are measures in place to limit the occupancy inside the restaurant.

Restaurants have been limited to 25% capacity for weeks and were allowed to expand to 50% on Friday. Bars are allowed to reopen Friday at 25% capacity. 

RELATED: 'I'm being targeted': Dallas restaurant owner says he's been singled out because he's black after complaints of oversized crowds

Dallas police and code enforcement say they will be monitoring crowds now that bars can reopen.

Plano, Denton and Fort Worth police say they will respond to crowd complaints and will try to disperse groups that get too big.

TABC says it will have agents including some undercover to try and keep bars in compliance.

Statewide rules don't require a limited capacity outdoors at restaurants and bars, but the businesses are still required to maintain physical distancing. 

“Any time there is a customer they should be 6 feet apart,” said Chris Porter, spokesperson for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. "TABC will take action as needed to uphold the Governor's orders.”

TABC says agents will give bars that are overcrowded a warning but if they continue to violate orders then they could suspend their liquor license.

"If there is a repeat pattern of behavior or if there is an imminent risk to public safety TABC can take action,” Porter said. 

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