Texas reverses its reopening plan as cases increase

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott speaks to the press after attending George Floyd’s public presentation at Fountain of Praise Church in Houston, Texas on June 8, 2020.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | fake pictures

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday that he will withdraw part of the state’s reopening as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

“As I said from the beginning, if the positivity rate were to rise above 10%, the State of Texas would take further steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a press release. “Right now, it’s clear that the increase in cases is largely due to certain types of activities, including Texans who congregate in bars.

The order includes the following:

  • All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross income from the sale of alcoholic beverages must close at 12:00 pm on Friday. 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 dinner service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of the total interior occupancy listed, beginning Monday.
  • Rafting and tubing companies must close.
  • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

Abbott’s order comes just a day after he said it would pause the state’s reopening plan. On Thursday, she ordered all licensed hospitals in four counties that include the state’s largest cities, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin, to postpone elective procedures to protect the hospital capacity of Covid-19 patients.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go back and close deals,” Abbott said in a statement Thursday.

Texas reported a 79% increase in its weekly average of coronavirus cases on Thursday, averaging 4,757 new cases daily, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Another factor that is closely monitored is hospitalizations, which can indicate the severity of cases in an area. These data may delay the number of new cases.

As of Thursday, the average daily number of hospitalizations in Texas has increased nearly 55% compared to a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Covid Monitoring Project data.

Abbott previously warned that “additional measures will be necessary” and that the state would have to take “tougher measures” if daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise at current rates in July.

On Tuesday, he recommended residents stay home unless they have to venture outside. He has always asked Texans to cover their faces and follow social distancing guidelines to prevent further spread of Covid-19.

“Wearing a mask will help us keep Texas open, because not taking steps to curb the spread will make Covid spread even worse, risking people’s lives and ultimately leading to the closure of more businesses,” said Abbott. at a press conference on Monday. .

This is breaking news. Please check for updates.