County judge warns he'll close San Antonio-area bars if COVID-19 numbers continue to climb


County Judge Nelson Wolff speaks at a recent coronavirus briefing. - SCREEN CAPTURE / KSAT TV
  • Screen Capture / KSAT TV
  • County Judge Nelson Wolff speaks at a recent coronavirus briefing.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Tuesday warned he could order recently reopened bars closed again if the local COVID-19 positivity rate rises above 10% for two weeks straight.

That rate — the number of coronavirus tests that come back positive — has gone up for four consecutive weeks and now sits at 9.4%, according to Metro Health data.

A possible closure order would affect the 400 or so bars that Wolff cleared to open last month. Those businesses had not yet retooled under state COVID-19 guidelines that allowed bars add food and reopen as restaurants.

If Wolff forces bars to close, it wouldn't apply to the 2,000 San Antonio-area taverns that have since reclassified as restaurants. Only Gov. Greg Abbott has the authority to make those business close or scale back their occupancy rates.

"We all need to work a lot harder to get this positivity rate down to help with our hospital situation before we really get into serious trouble again," Wolff said during a virtual briefing on Tuesday evening.

Texas reported 7,165 new coronavirus infections Tuesday, raising concerns the state, like much of the nation, is heading back to the highs experienced this summer, when hospital systems nearly buckled under the caseload.

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