Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that will close bars across the state this afternoon and limit restaurant capacity not to exceed 50 percent of the total listed indoor occupancy starting Monday.
Abbott's decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the coronavirus positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%.
The order includes the following:
- All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today. 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% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.
- Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
- Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.
“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars," Abbott said in a prepared statement. "The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health."
Abbott's action sparked this response from Kathy Snapka, president of the Coastal Bend Restaurant Association:
"The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) has said from the beginning that we must allow the health data to dictate our response to the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve watched the numbers climb with great concern, and we appreciate that Governor Abbott made a difficult decision today based on that data, which is not partisan.
"On behalf of the Coastal Bend Restaurant Association, the safety of our customers and staff is our top priority and we support the measures taken as this virus surges in our area. Please know that we continue, as we have throughout this pandemic, to take the precautions necessary to provide our customers with a safe environment, and appreciate the support of the community during this unprecedented time."