While other states like Florida are lifting the last of their coronavirus restrictions, Abbott is keeping his executive orders in place and continuing to keep some businesses closed.
On Monday, Abbott teased an upcoming announcement on Twitter which implied bars and other similar establishments—which have been barred from reopening alongside restaurants and other businesses—would finally be allowed to open their doors.
Texans have continued to keep COVID under control.
The hospitalizations, number of new positive cases, and positivity rate remain contained. Today was one of the lowest for fatalities in a long time.
I will be announcing more openings soon.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 5, 2020
Abbott’s announcement on Wednesday, however, was less sweeping than many expected.
Instead, Abbott announced a new order that passes the buck onto county judges, who he has given the authority to determine whether local bars can reopen as soon as October 14 at 50 percent capacity.
For many Texans in populous Democrat-controlled counties, such approval will likely be difficult to obtain.
In fact, shortly after the announcement, Clay Jenkins—the Democrat Dallas County Judge—announced he would “not file to open them at this time.”
Regarding opening bars in Dallas County: I will not file to open them at this time. Below is the current guidance from the Public Health Committee and @DCHHS. We are in orange but our numbers are increasing (BadI) I will listen to everyone but will follow the science. pic.twitter.com/wvak33TnZw
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) October 7, 2020
Much like current restrictions on restaurants, all customers and employees are required to wear masks unless they are seated to eat or drink.
In addition to his announcement about bars, Abbott adjusted capacity limits for some businesses—such as movie theaters and bowling alleys—to 75 percent.
In a scathing statement after the announcement, the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance blasted the move by Abbott.
“We are extremely shocked by the announcement made today. When other Governors around the country, like Ron DeSantis, continue to lead and set a course for economic and social recovery for their states, today our Governor punted,” said Michael Klein, TBNA’s president.
“Abbott has forced 254 other people to make this decision for him with no guideposts as to how to make that decision. He’s officially passed the buck. No other sector of the Texas economy is being handled this way, even similar businesses such as restaurants or bingo halls. Bars are being singled out,” he added.