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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Local businesses aim to revamp social settings

Texas State digital media and mass communication major Jennifer Ariola prepares coffee and tea for an order Oct. 9, 2020, at the LazyDaze coffee shop in downtown San Marcos.

Texas State digital media and mass communication major Jennifer Ariola prepares coffee and tea for an order Oct. 9, 2020, at the LazyDaze coffee shop in downtown San Marcos.

Downtown San Marcos clubs and coffee shops that once thrived off social gatherings are working to provide customers familiar experiences under loosened COVID-19 restrictions. 
In an Oct. 7 executive order, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allowed for county judges in areas with low COVID-19 hospitalization rates to expand maximum business occupancy levels to 75%.
Following the order, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra announced Oct. 9 that Hays County would opt to reopen bars at 50% and expand the business capacities.
Stonewall, an LGBTQIA+ club known for its drag performances, has been unable to return to a regular routine since the onset of COVID-19. Lena Jacobs, Stonewall’s manager and entertainment director, says Stonewall has been providing limited weekly events since the beginning of September.
“Stonewall is a nightclub, and right now people can’t be in a club dancing and congregating in a big group,” Jacobs said. “Everyone has to be at a table, stay within their group and social distance. It’s hard to be a business where people don’t want to come sit at a table; they want to dance on the stage and have a good time. We’re doing the best we can right now.”
Jacobs says the club will not expand to 75% capacity due to seating space. The maximum capacity for the club is 360 people. It can currently accommodate 70-80 customers.
Stonewall will host its drag shows differently than it has in the past. Patrick Laferrell King, a karaoke and trivia host for Stonewall, says the shows will take place in a socially-distanced restaurant setting.
“The drag queens walk around and perform while you’re sitting at your table with your friends,” Jacobs said. “We’re going to have it set up in a way where people are at their tables and drag queens walk around, performing through the whole club.”
Some of Stonewall’s customers enjoy the new atmosphere of the club. Sarah Muller, a Texas State psychology alumna, says the establishment does not feel like a club setting as much as a comfortable get-together location.
“It was a lot different from what it used to be in the past,” Mueller said. “Before, there was always dancing, drinking and partying. It has all the same nice aspects of going out but without the downside of too many people in crowds and the chaos that comes with the Square.”
Jacobs says Stonewall plans to host trivia and bingo nights in the future with new procedures in place to exercise standard health protocols.
Stellar Coffee is a coffee shop just across the street from Stonewall, another establishment that once provided various events for its customers, such as live music performances.
Stellar reopened its doors in May but did not return to dine-in services until late August. Madison Myrick, co-owner of Stellar Coffee, says now that the shop is back open, it can give locals a safe space to study and work away from home.
“We have hand sanitizer right at the door, and you need to use [it] when you come in,” Myrick said. “You have to have a mask on to order, and then you can go to the tables that we have available. The tables have markers on them to indicate whether they’re clean or dirty and then there’s a two-hour time limit that you can stay there.”
Myrick says Stellar will not be able to expand to 75% capacity due to its inability to maintain social distancing past 50%.
“We’re not able to add any more tables at this point because then they’d be intersecting within a 6-foot roll of each other, so we’ll be staying at the 50% capacity until [social distancing restrictions] are lifted,” Myrick said.
Regardless of the many protocols Stellar has in place, some customers, such as Sofia Psolka, a freshman English major, consistently visit the shop.
“I like the music they play, and I really enjoy talking to all the baristas here,” Psolka said. “So far they’ve all been really nice, and they’re just a lot of fun to talk to.”
Lazydaze is a Cannabidiol (CBD) dispensary and coffee shop hybrid that also hosts social events frequented by Texas State students. The store qualifies primarily as a medicinal shop, which allowed for the establishment to remain open during COVID-19 business restrictions, but Emma Wilson, a manager at Lazydaze, says customer intake saw a noticeable decline.
“We kind of took a dive in customers, especially with a lot of our older customers and students because a lot of the students weren’t coming back since COVID started. A lot of our older patients can’t get out of the house; they may have other [conditions] to worry about, so it makes it harder for them,” Wilson said. “We’ve had to kind of branch out and [start] delivery and curbside services. We’ve had to move largely online… we never had an online presence before.”
Lazydaze will attempt to keep most of its events outside and provide sufficient amounts of space. Wilson says in order to maintain these safety protocols, the business will keep the occupancy limit around 50% rather than the expanded limit.
“The cool thing is that we really only ever have maximum five people in our store at one time, so it’s really easy to stay under capacity like that,” Wilson said.
Lazydaze hosts open mic nights, free RSVP yoga, painting events and more. Wilson says Lazydaze will conduct all events safely for those wanting to attend, adding that the backyard has enough space for people to maintain a safe distance while also being outside.
“It was always really distant, tight-knit, very small community. We’ve never really had more than probably 60 different people at our events. We’re kind of little, you know, not very many people know about us, so it’s cool seeing all the new people that come in and start realizing what a little home this could be for them,” Wilson said.

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