All bars in Texas are officially closed as of 12pm, June 26 by an executive order signed by Governor Greg Abbott. Bars are defined as any establishment that makes over 51% of their sales in alcohol. Additionally, effective Monday, June 29, restaurants will be required to reduce their capacity to 50%, down from the previous allowance of 75%. Bars will be allowed to remain open for takeout and delivery, and all gatherings of 100 people or more will now require approval from local government leaders.
This order comes as a response to the recent surge in Coronavirus cases in Texas, hitting a positivity rate of over 10% for the first time since April. Texas now has over 130,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 deaths.
On May 22 bars in Texas were allowed to reopen under Phase 2 of the Governor’s opening plan. And since then, a number of bars all over Texas have been shut down by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)] for violating capacity limits.
“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 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.”
In Austin, masks have been required in all businesses since June 22, in an updated order by Mayor Steve Adler. Across the state, mask orders vary county by county, with the majority of Texas counties only providing a mask recommendation.
Check back for updates as the story develops.