Most counties in Texas are under heightened lockdown restrictions due to executive orders from Gov. Greg Abbott.
In September and October, Abbott issued executive orders that expanded capacity limits for many businesses—including restaurants, gyms, and retail stores—to 75 percent.
However, there was one stipulation: The expanded capacities depended on the hospitalization rate (the number of coronavirus patients as it relates to total hospitalizations in a given area).
Dividing the state into 22 regions called Trauma Service Areas, Abbott announced that any region with a seven-day hospitalization rate below 15 percent would be allowed to engage in more reopenings.
Likewise, if a reopened region hit the 15 percent hospitalization threshold, the increased restrictions would be put back in place.
That means most businesses would have to ratchet their capacity down to 50 percent, and bars would close completely. Additionally, a moratorium would be placed on elective medical procedures.
This week, Trauma Service Area Q, which contains Harris County, became the latest area to reach the 15 percent threshold for increased lockdowns. That means that, as of January 5, 149 of Texas’ 254 counties are subject to the increased restrictions, including the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, San Antonio, and Galveston.
This action comes despite Abbott publicly decrying lockdown policies just weeks ago.
“It’s time to put behind us shutdowns. No more shutdowns. We need to focus on opening up businesses,” Abbott said at a recent press conference.