Bar closures, tighter business restrictions triggered in North Texas by COVID-19 hospitalizations

Restaurants, bars and some other businesses in North Texas will face a familiar slate of heightened restrictions after the region exceeded the Gov. Greg Abbott’s threshold for COVID-19 hospitalizations. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Restaurants, bars and some other businesses in North Texas will face a familiar slate of heightened restrictions after the region exceeded the Gov. Greg Abbott’s threshold for COVID-19 hospitalizations. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Restaurants, bars and some other businesses in North Texas will face a familiar slate of heightened restrictions after the region exceeded the Gov. Greg Abbott’s threshold for COVID-19 hospitalizations. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Updated at 7:45 p.m.: This story is being updated as new information becomes available.

Restaurants, bars and many other businesses in North Texas face heightened restrictions after the region exceeded the governor’s threshold for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

More than 15% of hospital beds in the North Texas area were filled with confirmed coronavirus patients on Dec. 3, the seventh consecutive day the region was over that mark, according to the state's COVID-19 hospitalization dashboard.

This triggers automatic business-capacity reductions and bar closures across the Dallas-Fort Worth area in accordance with an October executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott.

"Governor Abbott continues to urge all Texans to follow the safe practices they mastered in the summer to slow the spread," Renae Eze, the governor's press secretary, said in a statement Dec. 3. "We’ve slowed the spread before, and we will do it again while we await the arrival of vaccines later this month."


Businesses that have been operating at 75% capacity—such as restaurants, retailers, gyms and office buildings—will have to ramp back down to half of normal capacity in the coming days, the order states.

The new restrictions went into effect immediately throughout North Texas, the governor’s office said, but the timing of enforcement may differ depending on the municipality.

The city of Lewisville plans to send fire inspectors to each business in the coming days, informing owners of the new restrictions, city spokesperson Matt Martucci said in an email. After that process is complete, the city would then inspect businesses in response to any complaints received, he added.

Rachel Patterson, environmental health and sustainability director for the city of Plano, said in a statement that the city would continue to enforce the governor’s orders by sending staff from multiple departments to businesses and requesting their voluntary compliance. These efforts have been successful to this point of the pandemic, she said.

Under the governor’s order, bars that had reopened in areas with low hospitalizations would be required to close again. But some bars will avoid having to close if alcoholic beverages make up less than 51% of their total sales, the order states.

In addition to enforcing the new restrictions on businesses, the city of Lewisville announced all city facilities would be available by appointment only beginning Dec. 4. More details on each facility were expected to be made available on the city website.

Hospital numbers are tracked according to trauma service areas. Trauma Service Area E, the latest region to exceed the governor's threshold, comprises Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin counties, among 15 others.

The governor’s order states the area’s hospitals would need to see the number of COVID-19 patients at or below 15% of staffed beds for another seven consecutive days before the restrictions would reverse.
By Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper in Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


MOST RECENT

In Denton County, the number of beds occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients remained near 200 after trending down from its recent peak. (Community Impact staff)
Tracking COVID-19: Hospitalized population, still high, shows early sign of decline in Denton County

Nearly 200 patients with COVID-19 were being treated in Denton County hospitals as of Jan. 20, but that number was starting to trend downward for the first time in months.

Grizzly Burger House's menu includes the Hawaiian cheeseburger and more. (Courtesy Grizzly Burger House)
Grizzly Burger opens in Richardson and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about, where, when and how they can get inoculated.

Philly Pretzel Factory opened its doors in December in Flower Mound. (Courtesy Philly Pretzel Factory)
Philly Pretzel Factory opens doors in Flower Mound

The store serves pretzels, pretzel dogs, philly cheesesteaks and an assortment of other related food items.

Chicken-fried steak and eggs ($11.99) are served with hash browns and Texas toast. (Courtesy The Cottage)
The Cottage eatery opens in Roanoke and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Feeding Texas hosted a Jan. 19 webinar to discuss legislative highlights for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Screenshot courtesy Feeding Texas)
Food insecurity in Texas' 87th Legislature: Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas to propose legislation addressing hunger

Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas hosted a webinar Jan. 19 to discuss increasing funding and accessibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the 87th legislative session.

Three Highland Village City Council races will be on the ballot in May. The filing period ends Feb. 12. (Ally Crutcher/Community Impact Newspaper)
Who's filed to run: Highland Village City Council races on the ballot in May

Voters in May will decide races for three seats on the Highland Village City Council.

Two Lewisville ISD trustee spots will be on the ballot for the May elections. The deadline to file is Feb. 12. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Who's filed to run: 2 spots on Lewisville ISD board of trustees

The candidate filing period is open through Feb. 12 for Places 1 and 2 on the Lewisville ISD board of trustees.

The city of Lewisville's population grew by more than 7% from 2014-19. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Who's filed to run: Lewisville City Council seats up for grabs as May elections approach

Two Lewisville City Council races—including one for the mayor's seat—will be on the ballot as the city prepares for its next round of municipal elections in May.

COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.

Bob Popinski, policy director of Raise Your Hand Texas, shared the organization's top education priorities for the ongoing legislative session. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
‘What does virtual learning and remote learning look like moving forward?': Raise Your Hand Texas policy director talks legislative priorities

Bob Popinski is the director of policy for Raise Your Hand Texas, an Austin-based organization committed to improving public education. He spoke with Community Impact Newspaper in late December about the 87th legislative session, which began Jan. 12.

The city of Lewisville has had a plan in place for more than half a decade to guide development in the Northern Gateway area west of I-35E. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Story to watch in 2021: Northern Gateway land off Justin Road attracts big-name developer

The land in question represents more than one-tenth of the Northern Gateway area.