Texas Orders Comal County Bars Closed, Businesses Scaled Back as COVID-19 Hospitalizations Surge
Comal County bars were ordered to close and businesses to reduce occupancy rates from 75 percent to 50 percent after hospitalization rates in Texas’ Trauma Service Area (TSA) P exceeded 15-percent or more of total hospital capacity with COVID-19 patients for seven consecutive days.
County Public Information Officer Cary Zayas said the county was notified today by Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of Texas’ Department of State Health Services (DSHS) that Comal and Guadalupe counties now meet the definition of an area with a high COVID-19 hospitalization rate.
Businesses currently allowed to operate at 75-percent under terms of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 must reduce capacity to 50 percent.
All elective surgeries are suspended.
These restrictions will remain in place until TSA P has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-hospitalized patients is 15-percent or less.
County Judge Sherman Krause said in a statement he hopes the closures ordered today will prove short-lived.
“This pandemic has been extremely challenging for many of our businesses, and these new restrictions are even more difficult,” he said. “We hope these limitations help to bring the virus under control and, more importantly, are short-lived so our community can get back to supporting our economy.”
These are the dates and percentages affecting TSA P, according to DSHS:
Dec. 21 – 15.13%
Dec. 22 – 15.67%
Dec. 23 – 16.23%
Dec. 24 – 16.09%
Dec. 25 – 16.39%
Dec. 26 – 16.88%
Dec. 27 – 15.97%
Counties in TSA P include:
Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, La Salle, Maverick, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde, Wilson and Zavala.
Businesses affected by the order include:
- Retail establishments
- Office buildings
- Museums and libraries
- Gyms and exercise facilities and classes
- Bars not operating as a restaurant under TABC rules
There is no occupancy limit for:
- Any services listed as essential critical infrastructure workforce
- Religious services
- Local government operations, including county and municipal
- Governmental operations related to licensing (including marriage licenses)
- Child-care services
- Youth camps
- Recreational sports programs for youths and adults
- Any public or private schools, and any public or private institutions of higher education
- Drive-in concerts, movies or similar events.
No occupancy limit for these establishments that operate with at least six feet of social-distancing between workstations:
- Cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons/shops
- Massage establishments
- Other personal-care and beauty services like tanning salons, tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair-removal services and hair-loss treatment and growth services.