Bars ordered to close in New Braunfels, Comal County as COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Southwest Texas remain above 15%

Businesses in New Braunfels are now required to reduce capacity to 50%, and bars must close entirely. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Businesses in New Braunfels are now required to reduce capacity to 50%, and bars must close entirely. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

Businesses in New Braunfels are now required to reduce capacity to 50%, and bars must close entirely. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

After the number of COVID-19 patients in Trauma Service Area P exceeded 15% of total hospital capacity for seven consecutive days, businesses in Comal and Guadalupe Counties are now required to adhere to strict capacity requirements, and bars must close entirely.

Trauma Service Area P includes 22 counties in Southwest Texas. Coronavirus patients accounted for 15.97% of hospitalizations in the area as of Dec. 27.

According to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, which went into effect Oct. 14, any business operating at 75% capacity within a TSA that records seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds 15% of total hospital capacity must reduce its maximum capacity to 50%.

Bars that are not operating as restaurants must close entirely under the order. These restrictions will remain in place until the hospitalization rate in TSA P is below 15% for seven consecutive days. Area hospitals must also postpone elective surgeries.

The 50% capacity order applies to retail establishments, restaurants, office buildings, manufacturers, museums, libraries, gyms and fitness facilities. Bars may continue to offer drive-thru, pickup or delivery options to the extent allowed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.


The following establishments have no occupancy limits.

  • Services listed as an Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce

  • Religious services

  • Local government operations

  • Governmental operations related to licensing, permitting, recordation and document-filing services

  • Child-care services

  • Youth camps

  • Recreational sports programs for youth and adults

  • Any public or private schools and institutions of higher education

  • Drive-in concerts, movies and similar events


The following institutions have no occupancy limit provided that six feet of social distancing between workstations is possible.


  • Cosmetology salons, hair salons, barbershops and nail salons

  • Massage establishments

  • Other personal-care and beauty services, such as tanning salons, tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services, and hair loss treatment and growth services

By Lauren Canterberry

Reporter, New Braunfels

Lauren joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in October 2019. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, Lauren was a freelance journalist and worked as a college English teacher in China. At CI, Lauren covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in New Braunfels.