Friday, August 19, 2022

Abbott says bars can reopen next week

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on June 16 (Photo credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell/Pool/American-Statesman)

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that bars in Texas can reopen for in-person service next week — as long as their county governments choose to allow it.

Effective Oct. 14, bars in counties that opt in will be able to resume in-person services at 50% capacity, though all customers must be seated while eating or drinking. The governor will impose no outdoors capacity limits on bars or similar establishments.

“It is time to open them up,” Abbott said in a Facebook video. “If we continue to contain COVID, then these openings, just like other businesses, should be able to expand in the near future.”

In addition to bars being allowed to reopen, businesses currently limited to 50% capacity may now expand to 75% capacity — that includes establishments like movie theaters, bowling alleys, bingo halls and amusement parks.

But Abbott said in his order that bars in regions of the state with high hospitalizations for coronavirus won’t be able to open. He defined those regions as areas where coronavirus patients make up more than 15% of hospital capacity.

“It is time to open up more provided that safe protocols continue to be followed,” Abbott said. “If everyone continues the safe practices, Texas will be able to contain COVID and we will be able to reopen 100%.”

Denton County Judge Andy Eads released a statement in response to the announcement.

“I applaud the governor taking this much needed step to reopen Texas. Denton County has continued to do a great job with our cases down compared to other urbanized areas in North Texas,” Eads said. “We feel for the financial pain these businesses have gone through and we fully support their reopening.”

Denton County has a 6.8% hospitalization rate, far below the 15%hospitalization rate outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order released today. In addition, records show that the category of 20-29 year olds has increased only one time in the last five weeks while the category of 30-39 year olds has seen a decrease.

“Any of the closures or mandates that people have experienced locally have not been placed by Denton County,” Eads said. “The mandates are from the state.”

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Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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