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Coryell County judge pushing to keep bars open after county, surrounding areas forced to rollback

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Posted at 10:59 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 23:59:46-05

CORYELL COUNTY, TX — Bars in Coryell County were forced to close their doors due to a rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the area, but County Judge Roger Miller is fighting to keep them open.

“It’s not realistic to think that that order can you apply equitably to all 254 counties. People of various ages will go to a bar and have a couple of drink, then maybe go to another bar. That’s not the case in Coryell County,” said Judge Miller.

Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell and Coryell County, reached the state's capacity limit for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Under Governor Greg Abbott's order, any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent is considered high hospitalization, meaning they must limit capacity, close bars and stop elective surgeries.

Unlike Bell County, who has 43 bars, Coryell County only has three.

“I don’t see how closing down three bars really impacts what we’re trying to achieve and controlling the spread of infection,” said Judge Miller.

He says only one of the bars operates as a private business. The others are an American Legion Post in Gatesville and the Moose Lodge in Copperas Cove, which are private, member-only club.

“I personally visited all three and had very good conversations with their owners and operators. I felt like each of them took very prudent and reasonable actions of their customers and their clientele,” said Judge Miller.

The county judge says he plans on sending a letter later this week to Governor Abbott asking him to exempt the bars.