While Texas Bars Can Open to 50-Percent Capacity, They Probably Won’t in Harris County

Updated at 10:15 pm on October 7th

While bars in Galveston and Montgomery counties will open, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted yesterday that she is leaning toward opening bars.

Posted at 16:23 on October 7th

Governor Greg Abbott published on Wednesday An execution order allowing bars or similar institutions across Texas to reopen and operate at a capacity of up to 50 percent for personal service starting Oct. 14.

“It’s time to open them” Said Abbott in a video posted on his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon. “Bars must follow the distance and seating protocols, just as restaurants have used it, as well as other protocols designed to contain the cobid spread.”

as per Update to the state’s minimum health protocols For Covid-19, all employees and customers in bars must wear a face-to-face and nose cover “wherever it is not possible to maintain a social distance from another person who is not in the same household, except when sitting at a bar or similar institution to eat or drink.” Also, tables should be “usually” at least a meter apart, dance floors should be closed, and workers should be filtered before entering the factory.

The protocols also state that establishments like bars have no outside occupancy limit.

Abbott first closed bars in March when the corona virus first spread in Texas. He reopened bars with a capacity of 25 percent in May, but weeks later he went back and said that bars are known to be areas where the virus can spread. Restaurants have since been able to reopen and are now allowed to seat up to 75 percent of the normal capacity in their dining rooms. To date, bar and river pipeline activities, which could reopen at 50% occupancy on 14 October, have been the only types of businesses left closed by the state.

Finally, Abbott said on Wednesday that businesses that are currently licensed to operate at a 50% capacity, such as cinemas, theme parks, zoos, aquariums and art galleries, can now operate at a 75% capacity.

However, there is a caveat to all of this. Reopening can only take place in hospital areas where the rate of Covid-19 hospitalizations is less than 15 percent of the hospitalization capacity. In addition, district judges must join their districts for these new openings.


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