Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order last Oct. 7 to reopen bars and establishments to a 50 percent capacity. This order is open to counties with low COVID-19 numbers.
County officials were allowed to opt in as long as they have established health protocols.
According to Abbott, Texans followed the best health practices and the state is prepared for the reopening. This order also increases business establishments to 75 percent capacity.
“To ensure bars open safely, these openings will be done in conjunction with county officials. County judges will be able to opt their county into opening bars so long as they assist in enforcing the health protocols,” Abbott said. “Opening bars does not mean that COVID-19 is no longer a threat, and most Texans are still susceptible to the virus. As bars and similar businesses begin to open, we all must remain vigilant and show personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones."
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission released an estimated number of 85 counties that were eligible to reopen following the Governor's executive order. Of those counties, Dallas will not be eligible to reopen.
Dallas bars and establishments have faced closures since the beginning of March. According to recent county numbers, Dallas has been one of the major counties with high COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“We made the decision early on to listen to doctors on this. The health committees recommended, before governor's action, to keep bars closed at this time,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “There has been a spike in cases in the last few days.”
Doctors and committees meet every Tuesday to discuss county metrics and what measures need to be taken. To establish when the appropriate readiness of bars reopening, health professionals use red, orange, yellow and green as a guide. Green would be to recommend bars open to 50 percent capacity. Yellow would mean for bars to be open to 50 percent capacity but not for high risk people. Red and orange are both portrayed as bars remaining temporary closed until doctors recommend it move down to yellow or green.
“We will continue to look at the numbers. We feel bad for bar owners and those who work there. This is for the public health and look at what is best,” Jenkins said.
During the summer, it was established by the county that bars were assumed as being superspreader locations. Since then, Dallas County has taken necessary precautions to avoid any risks.
The official closure of bars and establishments was earlier this year on Mar. 19 and reopenings began as soon as the first week of June after the governor's order. North Texas has continued to see numbers rise, and Tuesday, Dallas County reported 335 new COVID-19 cases and four additional residential deaths.