In a press conference on Thursday, September 17th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that beginning September 21st, restaurants in the state can officially increase to 75% capacity (from 50%), if they are in a region with under 15% of hospitalizations due to COVID. Currently, 19 of 22 hospital regions in Texas fall within this rate, including Austin. Bars will remain closed at this time.
As of June 26, bars in Texas have been closed, and restaurants have been allowed to operate at 50% capacity (down from a temporary increase to 75%). Since August, many bars have been allowed to reopen by increasing their food sales to 51%, oftentimes by selling discounted drinks alongside a bag of chips or fries.
This order comes as a response to the recent decline in Coronavirus cases in Texas, currently at a positivity rate of just over 5%, down from a rate of over 10% in June. Texas currently has over 670,000 confirmed cases and over 14,000 deaths.
The city of Austin is currently under a mask mandate through December 15th.
Check back for updates as the story develops.