Gov. Abbott announces expanded reopenings including restaurants, nursing homes, bars to remain closed

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AUSTIN (KFDX/KJTL) — In a press conference, Thursday afternoon Governor Greg Abbott announced that business can reopen in Texas at 75% capacity.

For the state’s 19 hospital regions where coronavirus hospitalizations are less than 15% industries that were limited to 50% capacity may now expand to 75% capacity starting Sept. 21, including all retail stores, all restaurants, all office buildings, all manufacturing, all museums and libraries, and all gyms.

Hospitals in those regions may return to ordinary elective surgical procedures immediately, Abbott also stated.

Starting Sept. 24, Abbott said all nursing home facilities, assisted living centers, state supported living centers, and other long-term care facilities are allowed to reopen for visitation, providing that they comply with certain health protocols and there must not be a COVID-19 outbreak in the facility. All of those facilities are now allowed to offer essential caregiver visits, he said.

“Texans have shown that we can address both the health and safety concerns of COVID, while also taking carefully measured steps to restore the livelihoods that Texas desperately need,” Gov. Abbott said.

Abbott indicated bars are nationally recognized as COVID-19 spreading locations, and will not be allowed to reopen at this time. He acknowledged that the state is focused on finding ways to get them open, and leaders have been working with bar owners and associations on methods of reopening.

“The fact is COVID does still exist, and most Texans remain susceptible,” Gov. Abbott said. “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 forces to ratchet back down.”

Abbott said the metric he’s relying most heavily on is hospitalizations. Medical experts have warned about increased spread in regions where 15% or more of hospitalizations are coronavirus-related.

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