Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made the much awaited announcement on Wednesday that bars and similar establishments are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity in counties with low COVID-19 hospitalizations starting Oct. 14.
Gov. Abbott 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.
While his news might be welcome to some, Gov. Abbott shifted the enforcement burden to county judges across the state by asking them to 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.”
Gov. Abbott said bars are going to be required to follow the same safety protocols as restaurants, such as social distance and seating guidelines.
The Governor on Wednesday 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.”
“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 social media announcement.