Abbott says Texas bars can soon open at 50% capacity, El Paso County judge seeks exemption
AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Abbott announced Wednesday that bars will soon be allowed to open at 50% capacity in areas of the state with low hospitalization rates from Covid-19.
He said starting Oct. 14 that county judges would be able to opt their county into bar openings along with ensuring enforcement of virus safety protocols.
But El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said after Abbott’s announcement that he has sent a letter to Abbott asking him to exempt El Paso from opening bars within the county.
In his letter, Samaniego wrote that hospitalization rates in El Paso are at 15% and new infections are on an upward trajectory.
“Unfortunately, the group with the highest percentage of active Covid cases is young people between the ages of 20 to 29. Opening bars in El Paso will only further increase the positive cases in this age group,” Samaniego wrote.
Aside from bars reopening, the governor in his latest executive order said amusement parks, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, and bowling alleys would be able to expand to 75% capacity beginning Oct. 12.
“Texans have shown that we can contain the spread of Covid-19 by following health protocols and guidelines,” Abbott said. “Our state is prepared for these additional openings, but we all must remain vigilant and show personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”
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