Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order Wednesday paving the way for bars and similar establishments to reopen at 50% capacity as early as Wednesday, October 14.
The reopenings can only take place in hospital regions where coronavirus patients make up 15% or fewer of the total people hospitalized, and counties also must opt in to the order.
Abbott cited declining COVID-19 cases across the state as the driving factor behind the order, which also allows all businesses now operating at 50% capacity to increase their capacity to 75%.
"Even as more businesses have opened and students return to school, Texans have shown we can contain the spread of COVID-19," he said in the online video
. "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."
Reopened bars must use the same safety protocols as restaurants. Patrons must don a mask when not seated at a table, and they must be seated while eating or drinking. Trade associations representing bars recommended that dance floors remain closed, according to the order.
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