On September 17, Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. He applauded Texans for taking COVID-19 seriously and announced a new plan to increase capacity in Texas businesses. Here’s more information on his new guidelines.
Hospitalization Numbers Drive Decision To Expand Capacity
Governor Abbott noted that “we need a fair and reliable metric” to determine the status of the pandemic, and hospitalizations are the single most important data to use. He also indicated how “one region should not dictate the response to the pandemic for another region.” Thus, he announced that businesses can expand capacity if the region has maintained a COVID-19 hospitalization rate below 15% for more than 7 days.
Of the 22 hospital regions in Texas, 19 meet the governor’s metric. However, Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria have COVID-19 hospitalizations above 15%, so they won’t be permitted to increase capacity.
What Businesses Are Included in Abbott’s Plan?
If a region meets the hospitalization criteria, it can increase capacity to 75% in all retail stores, restaurants, museums, libraries, gyms, office buildings, and factories. These businesses can open under the new guidelines as soon as September 21.
In addition, Abbott announced that hospitals can resume ordinary elective procedures. Furthermore, nursing homes and live-in care facilities can allow visitations on September 24 as long as they observe certain health protocols and don’t have a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
The governor described bars as being nationally recognized as COVID-19 spreading locations, so they will remain closed.
Continue Following Safe Practices
Along with permitting businesses to expand capacity, Governor Abbott cautioned against relaxing safe standards. “COVID is still a threat,” stated Abbott. He stressed how “safe practices remain the best defense against COVID until a vaccine arrives,” and Texans must continue to social distance, wear masks, and practice good hand hygiene as we coexist with the virus.
The governor ended his announcements on a positive note: “Without a vaccine, containing COVID is a challenge. Texans have shown they are up to the challenge.”
As you go out in public, follow these tips for staying safe, and if you start displaying COVID-19 symptoms, schedule a virtual visit with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician.
KPRC | Restaurants, retail shops allowed to increase capacity; bars must remain closed