Important County Updates

October 13, 2020

Legislative News

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Exemption Criteria Updates for Face Coverings

Effective Oct. 14, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is updating the criteria for a county to be exempt from the face covering requirement of executive order GA-29.

Counties must have 30 or fewer new COVID-19 cases during the previous 14 day period to be exempt, provided the county judge submits an exemption form affirmatively opting out. Counties seeking exemption can find the steps, form and list of approved counties on the TDEM GA-29 webpage.


State Reopens Bars, With County Opt In

On Oct. 7, Gov. Abbott announced bars may reopen beginning Oct 14, with county approval. His latest executive order allows reopening at 50 % capacity in counties where COVID-19 hospitalizations rates are less than 15% of hospital capacity. County judges may opt in provided their county meets the executive order’s requirements and they assist with enforcing safety protocols with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC). Opt in information for counties can be found on the TABC website. Once opened, bar patrons must be seated for in-person service. The latest reopening order capacity also applies to tasting rooms at wineries, breweries and distilleries.
 
Businesses previously limited to 50% capacity were allowed to expand to 75% capacity Oct 12. That list includes movie theaters, bowling alleys, bingo halls, amusement parks, zoos and aquariums. Earlier on Sept. 17, gyms, museums and libraries, office based employers, retailers and restaurants were allowed to operate at 75%.

The complete checklist of open services and activities and the effective dates can be found on the governor's Open Texas webpage. Additionally, the Texas Department of State Health Services maintains a current list of areas with high hospitalization rates and TABC will maintain an information page for bars and similar establishment reopenings. For more information on the content of this article, email Aurora Flores.