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Gov. Greg Abbott says bars can reopen at 50% capacity in counties with low COVID-19 hospitalizations

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott discusses how officials are responding to Tropical Storm Beta during an interview on Sept. 20, 2020.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott discusses how officials are responding to Tropical Storm Beta during an interview on Sept. 20, 2020. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that bars and similar establishments are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity in counties with low COVID-19 hospitalizations starting Oct. 14.

The governor said it is time to reopen more businesses as coronavirus numbers in the state continue to decline.

“The good news is that even with additional business openings, even with more students returning to school and more gatherings like football games, Texans have shown that we can contain the spread of COVID,” he said.

Abbott said county judges have the option to opt into these openings provided they assist in enforcing health protocols.

“They can open at a 50% capacity provided that they follow the safety protocols,” he said. “If we continue to contain COVID, then these openings just like other businesses should be able to expand in the near future.”

Abbott said bars will have to follow the same safety protocols as restaurants, such as follow distance and seating guidelines.

The governor also announced that businesses such as amusement parks, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums and bowling alleys can expand to 75% capacity in counties with low COVID-19 hospitalizations ‪beginning Oct. 12. Abbott said these expansions only apply in regions where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% of hospital capacity to “ensure that these businesses open safely and to help enforce the health protocols.”

He said Texans are continuing to help contain the spread of the coronavirus by following CDC guidelines and health protocols.

“Our state is prepared for these additional openings, but we all must remain vigilant and show personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Abbott said in his Facebook post.

Watch the full announcement below:

Issuing Executive Order to Open Bars in Qualifying Counties

Opening bars and similar establishments to 50% capacity in regions with low #COVID19 hospitalizations. ‪Beginning October 14th, County Judges can opt their county into these openings provided they assist in enforcing health protocols. Additionally, businesses like amusement parks, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, and bowling alleys can expand to 75% capacity in counties with low #COVID19 hospitalizations ‪beginning October 14th. Texans have shown that we can contain the spread of #COVID19 by following health protocols and guidelines. Our state is prepared for these additional openings, but we all must remain vigilant and show personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Posted by Office of the Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

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