Texas Businesses Reopen at 75% Capacity
On September 17th, Governor Greg Abbott announced that many businesses in the state of Texas will be able to loosen their COVID-19 restrictions and increase their operating capacity. Over the last few months, restaurants, retail stores, gyms, and office buildings have been open at 50% in-store capacity. As of September 21st, these facilities will now be able to operate at 75% capacity. This state-wide reopening plan also applies to 19 of the state’s 22 hospital regions. In addition, nursing homes will soon reopen and allow restricted in-person visitations starting September 24th.
As Gov. Abbott reopens the state, coronavirus cases continue to rise on the daily. The three hospital regions excluded from this reopening plan are the Rio Grande Valley, Victoria, and Laredo, as coronavirus patients in these regions make up 15% or more of total hospitalizations.
Gov. Abbott is hopeful that this reopening plan will help local businesses across the state from an economic perspective, strongly believing that Texans will continue to take the pandemic seriously and exercise personal responsibility when visiting these establishments. Other officials, however, remain skeptical that this will be the case. A recent article from the Texas Tribune identified college towns such as Austin, Lubbock, and College Station as hot spots for the coronavirus. Many bars in these cities have been able to reopen as restaurants and continue their operations. With in-store capacity increases to 75%, these towns could see an exponential increase in cases in the coming weeks.
On September 17th, Austin Mayor Steve Adler stated that while he wished Gov. Abbott would have waited longer to reopen the state, he is committed to upholding masking and social distancing guidelines to ensure the public’s safety and businesses’ ability to operate. “Let’s keep protecting our ability to open schools and remain vigilant.”
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