The standard that Abbott unveiled applies to the 19 out of 22 hospital regions in the state where coronavirus patients make up less than 15% of all hospitalizations. In those 19 regions, businesses that have been open at 50% capacity will be permitted to expand to 75% capacity — a group of places that includes retail stores, restaurants and office buildings. Hospitals in those regions will also be allowed to offer normal elective procedures again, and nursing homes can reopen for visitations under certain standards.
The three hospital regions excluded from the new reopening stage are in the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria. Abbott said those regions’ hospitalizations are still “in the danger zone.”
At the same time, Abbott said the state was not yet ready to reopen bars, saying they are “nationally recognized as COVID-spreading locations.” He stressed, though, that the state is looking for ways to let bars reopen safely.Abbott unveiled the new standard during a news conference at the Texas Capitol that marked Abbott’s first major announcement about the reopening process since early summer. In late June, Abbott shut down bars and ordered restaurants to scale back to 50% capacity as case numbers started to surge.
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