Texas Governor Greg Abbott has taken action as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the state. On Friday, June 26, Abbott announced that bars must be shut down and restaurants must reduce seating capacity to 50 percent.
Bars were forced to close at noon on Friday, while the new restaurant capacity will not be in effect until Monday. Texas bars had previously been operating at 50 percent occupancy, while restaurants were at 75 percent.
“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said in a news release, via the Texas Tribune. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health… 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.
“We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part. Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can.”
There is no word on how long bars will remain closed.
Texas was one of the first states to begin its reopening process amid the coronavirus pandemic back in late-April. Texas, along with states like Florida and California, are among the states that are leading the way in the country with new coronavirus cases — a group that you do not want to be a part of.
As the United States hits single-day record highs for new cases of coronavirus, Texas has confirmed 132,000 cases statewide with 2,296 deaths.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 123,000 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.