Becerra's statement came via an Oct. 9 press release in which he said he has pulled together a team of local officials, emergency management staff and health department staff to discuss options prior to his decision.
“The majority of mayors and other elected officials were supportive but cautious,” Becerra said in the release. “They want to be able to tell business owners they can get back to work and earning a living but recognize that if we do, the process must be deliberate and thoughtful. This is a public safety issue, and our goal is to always protect public safety.”
The release states recommendations from the local officials included asking bar owners to utilize outdoor seating, remove 50% of tables, remove bar stools and have musical acts outside. It adds that guidance from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicates bars would need to close by 11 p.m. for the foreseeable future.
Abbott's Oct. 7 announcement stated bars will be able to reopen and operate at 50% capacity in qualifying counties starting Oct. 14.
"It is time to open them up," Abbott said in the announcement. "Initially, they can open at a 50% capacity provided that they follow the safety protocols. If we continue to contain [COVID-19], then the openings, just like other businesses, should be able to expand in the near future."
There is not yet a specific date for when Hays County bars may reopen, but the release states Becerra is working with the county's legal counsel to submit a form required by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in order to carry out the allowance.
When contacted by Community Impact for further comment, Hays County Communications Director Kim Hilsenbeck said more information regarding the specific opening date and other details will be forthcoming when it is known.