Dallas edges back toward lockdown mode following an increase in COVID-19 cases that will shut down bars and force some businesses, including restaurants, stores, and gyms, to reduce capacity to 50 percent.
The closure is a result of an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott that went into effect in October, requiring rollbacks if and when COVID-19 resurged.
- Bars will go from 50 percent to closed.
- Elective surgeries are on hold.
- Restaurants and businesses are now limited to 50 percent occupancy, from their previous 75 percent.
The benchmark for action was hospital beds: According to Abbott's order, if more than 15 percent of hospital beds were in use by COVID-19 patients for seven days in a row, then the rollbacks kicked in.
DFW currently has 15.6 percent of beds in use for COVID-19 patients. Occupancy can go back up if that percentage of hospital beds stays below 15 percent for a week.
The closure was not exactly a surprise. The number of patients being treated for COVID-19 in North Texas hospitals reached a new high on December 1. The average number of patients being treated daily in December was nearly three times as high as September, according to DFW/CBS.
The order affects counties across North Texas including Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Parker, and Collin counties.
Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins issued a statement:
"Today is the 7th consecutive day our region has been above the 15% of all available beds occupied by COVID19 patients threshold," he said. "Pursuant to @GovAbbott’s executive order GA-32, once today’s numbers are updated on the @TexasDSHS website (tonight) our region will be subject immediately to a decrease in all non essential business occupancy limits from 75% to 50% and other protocols laid out in GA-32."
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will inform business and bar owners of the policy change, commission spokesperson Chris Porter told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
This order is designed to reduce the number of places people can gather which theoretically will reduce the spread of COVID-19.