Coronavirus News

Texas governor shuts down Austin bars in response to COVID-19 surge

Texas governor shuts down Austin bars in response to COVID-19 surge

People hanging out on a patio
Patios are still okay. Photo courtesy of Elyson

In the latest move on the Texas coronavirus seesaw, Gov. Greg Abbott has executed a new round of restrictions that includes closing bars and limiting occupancy on restaurants.

The executive order requires Texas bars to close at 12 pm on Friday, June 26, although they are still allowed to do delivery and takeout, including alcoholic beverages.

Restaurants must revert to their former occupancy level of 50 percent, down from their previous 75 percent.

The Texas Restaurant Association issued a release saying they appreciate that Governor Abbott "made a difficult decision today" based on the climbing number of COVID-19 cases.

Abbott's order includes the following:

  • All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12 pm June 26. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, 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 percent of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday June 29.
  • Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
  • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

The order will not impact outdoor patios of restaurants.

The order comes one day after Abbott placed a "pause" on reopening in Texas, following a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Texas hospitals saw 4,738 patients, a record for the 14th day in a row.

Not affected are houses of worship, child care services, local government operations, and youth camps, which can operate with no capacity limits.