GOV ABBOTT RELAXES RESTRICTIONS — Texas is loosening some COVID-19 restrictions for work places based on a general downward trend in cases and hospitalizations. State leaders are adopting a regional approach to managing the pandemic. Yesterday Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced he is further reopening parts of Texas where coronavirus patients make up less than 15 percent of total hospitalizations for at least seven consecutive days. Businesses there can soon expand from half to 75 percent capacity.
"That includes all retail stores, all restaurants, all office buildings, all manufacturing, all museums and libraries, and all gyms, " Abbott said. "Those openings can begin as early as Monday, September 21st."
Abbott also said that elective surgical procedures can also take place in those regions that fall below the 15% covid-19 hospitalization percentage. As for bars, Abbott said those will remain closed indefinitely. Texas bars have been closed since late June when a spike in Covid-19 cases caused Abbott to backtrack on relaxing restrictions.
"The fact is Covid does still exist and most Texans remain susceptible," Abbott explained. "If we fully reopen Texas without limits, without safe practices, it could lead to an unsustainable increase in Covid that would require the possibility of being forced to ratchet back down. The better approach is to safely take strategic steps that help Texans return to jobs while also protecting them from Covid."
Starting next Thursday, the state will allow more visitors at nursing homes that meet certain health protocols. As for what happens next, State health officials will be focusing on the percentage of Covid-19 hospitalizations on a county-by-county basis. Texas has over 14,500 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, the vast majority of which occurred after the state embarked on an aggressive reopening in May. Total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Texas is over 678,000 with more than 594,000 estimated recoveries and over 69,000 active cases reported by the State Department of Health.