As the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge across Texas, Gov. Gregg Abbott announced June 26 that he’s ordering some bars to close at noon Friday as well as shutting down tubing and rafting businesses.
The governor is also directing restaurants to lower dine-in capacity to 50 percent starting Monday, June 29.
The decision is based on the number of positive cases in the state, the climbing hospitalization rate, and the positivity rate going above the 10 percent threshold.
The positivity rate is the ratio of positive COVID-19 cases to the number of tests done.
As of June 25, Texas has reported 131,917 total positive cases and conducted 1,875,197 tests. Almost 2,300 people in the state have died due to the disease. About 6,000 new cases were reported Thursday.
“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10 percent, the state of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott stated in a media release. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”
The executive order he issued June 26 takes measured actions based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Texas.
The order includes the following:
- All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at noon Friday, June 26. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
- Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service but at a capacity not to exceed 50 percent of total listed indoor occupancy beginning Monday, June 29. The governor had allowed restaurants to operate at 75 percent capacity as part of a previous reopening phase.
- Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
- Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.
“The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health,” the governor stated. “We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part.
“Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again.”