Cedar Creek Lake nightclubs open for Memorial Day weekend, vow to limit traffic and maintain social distancing

Tavern parking lots that sat empty for almost two months during the ongoing epidemic filled again on Cedar Creek Lake May 22, 2020, as bar owners opened their doors for the Memorial Day weekend.

Rita’s Club in Gun Barrel City opened at 10 a.m., and cars and trucks could be seen parked both in the front and back parking lots. A staffer answering the phone at 9 a.m. said the bar would be open with limited seating inside and some outside in accordance with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s 25 percent occupancy restriction for reopening bars.

Walker’s Landing, also in Gun Barrel City, took an innovative approach to the occupancy restriction that apparently was designed to maximize income. A photograph of a sign posted on the bar’s Facebook page read, “If you are a nonessential drinker (babysits your drink), stay your ass at home. We need our top 25 percent drinkers in here supporting us. Welcome home.”

Garlow’s in Gun Barrel City, which is known for its drag shows, announced on its Facebook page that it planned to welcome everyone back with a big party and karaoke. The owner, who redecorated the bar during the shutdown, posted on the bar’s Facebook page, “In the spirit of new beginnings we have decided to lift all bans. If you are barred from Garlow’s, welcome back. Don’t screw it up.”

BnR Country Grub & Pub in Mabank, a sports bar and restaurant that reopened May 7, announced it would be doubling its seating in accordance with Gov. Abbott’s order allowing restaurants to increase from the 25 percent allowed on May 7 to 50 percent occupancy on May 22.

Vernon’s Lakeside Restaurant in Seven Points, which also reopened its dining room May 7 along with other lake restaurants and cafes, kicked off the relaunch of its nightclub on the waterside deck with live bands playing Friday through Sunday nights.

Other restaurant venues with bars that have reopened include the Lakeside Café in Gun Barrel City and Tiki Hut Bar & Grill in Tool.

Gov. Abbott’s order reopening businesses in Texas called for restaurants and hair salons to start May 7, gyms on May 18 at 25 percent and bars on May 22 at 25 percent. Restaurants were allowed to reopen at 25 percent occupancy, but that increased to 50 percent on May 22. Bars were ordered to cap at a 25 percent occupancy.

Retail stores, theaters and bowling alleys have also been allowed to reopen.

Traffic has returned to the Cedar Creek Lake area’s highways and retail and grocery stores. Weekenders were seen stocking provisions for their stays, some wearing masks and some not. Full-time residents’ use of masks has also been spotty.

Health officials warn that the COVID-19 epidemic continues to be a threat, and they have urged patrons of all businesses to observe social distancing and to wear masks when not eating or drinking.

There have been 53,449 cases of COVID-19 documented in Texas with 1,480 deaths as of May 22. The Centers for Disease Control recently said that 35 percent of the cases in the United States showed no symptoms, but those people could still infect others who might die from the virus’ effects on their bodies.

There have been few cases in the Cedar Creek Lake area, but Dallas and Tarrant Counties have been hit hard with 8,273 and 4,803 cases respectively.

In the Tri-County area there have been documentation of 52 cases in Henderson County, 182 in Kaufman County and 26 in Van Zandt County. Only 9 of the Kaufman County cases were in the Cedar Creek Lake area in Kemp and Mabank, according to county officials.

Health officials say it will be five to six weeks before it is known if reopening the state’s businesses results in another surge of infections.

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Cedar Creek Lake Weather Forecast



Hi: 81

Wednesday Night


Lo: 60



Hi: 83

Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 61


Partly Sunny

Hi: 86

Friday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 64


Partly Sunny

Hi: 87

Saturday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 65

Cedar Creek Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 10/23: 320.80 (-1.20)

Cedar Creek Lake

Fishing Report from TPWD (Oct. 20)

EXCELLENT. Water lightly stained; 72-75 degrees; 1.18 feet low. Largemouth bass are excellent biting on shad patterned crankbaits and shaky heads in the backs of the creeks and main lake brush piles. Sand bass main lake humps using silver slabs. Crappie are excellent in brush piles in 8-18 feet of water using minnows and jigs. Catfish and hybrid stripers are good over humps with cut or live shad.

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