BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — After a little foreshadowing of possible news of opening bars from his twitter page earlier this week, Governor Greg Abbott did in fact issue an executive order today to reopen bars in qualifying counties.
Three weeks ago, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that restaurants and other businesses were able to open up to 75 percent capacity.
“But, even then some businesses remained at a 50% capacity and bars still were not allowed to open,” says Governor Abbott.
Leaving bar owners frustrated and with a lot of questions.
“If you’re going to let restaurants be at 75 percent, why can’t bars open at 25 percent. Why can’t we open at 25 percent and say you have to be closed by midnight. There’s just no help,” says Chris Steele Owner of O’Bannon’s Taphouse in the Northgate District.
Wednesday, Governor Abbott helping bar owners like Chris Steele, issuing an executive order allowing bars to open at 50 percent capacity in qualifying counties.
“These expansions apply only in the hospital regions were COVID hospitalizations are less than 15 percent of hospital capacity,” says Governor Abbott.
According to the Brazos County Health District’s COVID-19 report, as of Tuesday, Oct. 6, only 13 Brazos County Residents are hospitalized.
Governor Abbott said Wednesday there are three reasons the reopening of bars should be more successful: one, as more people are aware of how the virus is spread and how to treat it. Two, changes in the reopening protocols and three, the widespread availability for testing COVID-19.
“We are not averaging more than 65,000 COVID tests per day and beginning next week, we will add an additional 100,000 rapid results tests each day,” says Governor Abbott.
Starting Tuesday, Oct. 14, County Judges will be able to opt their county into opening bars provided they assist in enforcing health protocols.
“Bars must follow distance and seating protocols just like restaurants have used as well as other protocols that are intended to contain the spread of COVID,” says Abbott.
Governor Abbott is confident bars will be able to expand in the near future if the state continues to contain the virus as he encourages Texans to continue following best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.