Texas to close bars, limit restaurant dining due to COVID-19 spread

The governor of Texas on Friday ordered all bars shut down and put strict limits on restaurant dining in a bid to slow down the spread of the coronavirus throughout his state.

Gov. Gregg Abbott made the move one day after he hit the pause button on Texas’ plans to reopen and the numbers of new cases continued to soar.

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10% the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a statement. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”

All establishments that rake in more than 51 percent of income from alcohol had until noon to close their doors, although they would still be allowed to stay open for take-out or delivery sales.

Restaurants will be allowed to stay open, but starting Monday at less than 50 percent capacity.

Abbott’s edict also extends to tourist-friendly businesses like tubing and rafting, which were ordered immediately closed. And public gatherings of 100 people or more will need to be approved by local governments, with certain unspecified exceptions, Abbott’s office said.

The development in Texas came as another Southern state, Alabama, was branded a COVID-19 hot-spot state Friday a day after health officials recorded 1,129 new cases — the most in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile in Washington, the Trump Administration asked the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, endangering insurance coverage for some 20 million Americans during a pandemic.

If the nation’s top court sides with President Donald Trump, the highly popular pre-existing conditions protections could be wiped out.

source: nbcnews.com