“With the encouragement and recommendation of the doctors and scientists from Collin County Health Care Services, I will be filing the necessary paperwork with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to allow Collin County bars to reopen next week,” Hill said in a county news release.
The governor’s order also requires counties that reopen bars to have a hospitalization rate under 15%.
“Our Collin County hospitals and healthcare professionals continue to serve our community with excellence,” Hill said in the release. “At no time this year has our hospital capacity been overwhelmed or threatened by COVID-19. Quite simply, Collin County should be completely open. I will listen to everyone, but will follow the science.”
The county news release says Collin County COVID-19 patients have occupied an average of just over 3% of the county’s 2,702 total hospital beds since March 21. On Oct. 8, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 104 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Collin County.
Health protocols released by Abbott’s office Oct. 7 state that facial coverings must be worn by bar employees and bar patrons when 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained except when seated to eat or drink. In addition, outdoor bars will not be subject to an occupancy limit.
River tubing operations may also open and operate at 50% capacity, according to the governor's announcement. Businesses currently operating at 50% capacity may now expand to 75% capacity under the order. This includes businesses such as amusement parks, fine arts performance halls and movie theaters, among others.