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Texas bars must close except for to-go, restaurants go back to 50% capacity: Gov. Abbott

Abbott also said rafting and tubing outfitters on Texas' popular rivers must close.

HOUSTON — Just one day after temporarily pausing the state's reopening plans, Texas is now increasing restrictions on some businesses in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Friday's new order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott includes closing bars effective at noon today (except for to-go service) and reducing capacity at restaurants starting on Monday. Also, outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

You can read the details of the order below.

Also breaking out of the Houston area this morning, Harris County has announced the return of a "Stay Home, Work Safe" advisory. County Judge Lina Hidalgo is telling the public to stay home as much as possible and only spend time with people within your same household.

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Read the full executive order below and check back for updates to this developing story:

Executive order limiting certain businesses in Texas 6/26/2020

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state. 

Friday's executive order includes the following:

  • All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. 
  • Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.
  • Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
  • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health. We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part. Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again.”

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