Bars Ordered Closed, Restaurant Capacity Limited as Abbott Dials Up Coronavirus Restrictions

Play it safe. Get it to go.
Play it safe. Get it to go. Pete Zotos
A day after he hit the pause button on the state's reopening plan, Gov. Greg Abbott is reinstating some restrictions designed to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Friday morning, Abbott issued an executive order closing bars across the state at noon Friday and placing a 50% occupancy limit at restaurants, amusement parks and certain other indoor businesses statewide, effective Monday. The order also closes rafting and tubing businesses.

The move comes as reported cases of COVID-19 surge across the state, including in Dallas County. Thursday, just two days after the state's single-day new case total crossed the 5,000 mark for the first time, the state reported 5,996 new cases of the novel coronavirus.

Thursday, Abbott issued two separate executive orders, one suspending all elective surgeries at hospitals in Dallas, Harris, Travis and Bexar counties and another freezing in place capacity restrictions at businesses across the state.

Also on Thursday, Houston's Texas Medical Center, the world's largest medical facility, announced 100% of its ICU beds were full. Officials at the medical center said staff members there were converting other rooms into critical care rooms. In a letter Thursday, officials at the medical center said that, if the surge continues, the hospital's resources could become overwhelmed.

In Dallas County, hospitalizations for COVID-19 climbed 88% between June 1 and Wednesday, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Across the state, 2,296 people have died from COVID-19, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
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Silas Allen has been the Dallas Observer's news editor since March 2019. Before coming to Dallas, he worked as a reporter and editor at the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City. He's a Missouri native and a graduate of the University of Missouri.
Contact: Silas Allen