Health and Science

Texas rolls back its reopening a day after pausing plans as coronavirus cases rise

Key Points
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that he will roll back some of the state's reopening, only a day after he said he would place the state's restart plan on pause.
  • 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 p.m. Friday. 
  • Texas reported a 79% increase in its weekly average of coronavirus cases on Thursday, averaging 4,757 daily new cases, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott speaks to the press after attending the public viewing for George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas on June 8, 2020.
Andrew Caballero0-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that he will roll back some of the state's reopening as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. 

"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," Abbott said in a press release. "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 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 p.m. Friday. These businesses may remain open for delivery and takeout, 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.
  • Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
  • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

Abbott's order comes only a day after he said he would place the state's reopening plan on pause. On Thursday, he ordered all licensed hospitals in four counties that include the state's largest cities — Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin —  to postpone elective procedures in order to protect hospital capacity for Covid-19 patients. 

"The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses," Abbott said in a release Thursday. 

Texas reported a 79% increase in its weekly average of coronavirus cases on Thursday, averaging 4,757 daily new cases, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Another factor that is watched carefully is hospitalizations, which can indicate how severe cases are in an area. This data can lag the number of new cases. 

As of Thursday, the average daily number of hospitalizations in Texas has increased nearly 55% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Covid Tracking Project data. 

Texas was one of the first states to quickly reopen its economy, allowing bars, restaurants, retailers and gyms to resume operations with reduced capacity in early to mid-May. However, the state has since reported record spikes in hospitalizations and daily cases since Memorial Day. 

Abbott has previously warned that "additional measures are going to be necessary" and the state would have to take "tougher actions" if daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to climb at current rates into July. 

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On Tuesday, he recommended residents stay home unless they have to venture outside. He has consistently asked Texans to wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines to prevent further spread of Covid-19. 

"Wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open, because not taking action to slow the spread will cause Covid to spread even worse, risking people's lives and ultimately leading to the closure of more businesses," Abbott said at a news briefing Monday. 

Many of the new cases since late May were most likely due to people who didn't follow recommended social distancing practices, Abbott said June 16. He added that some counties have reported higher positivity rates stemming from people under 30 years old, indicating they may be going to "bar-type settings" or were infected at Memorial Day celebrations. 

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