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Gov. Abbott closes bars, reduces restaurant capacity

Writer's note: Due to print deadlines, this story will not appear in the June 27 edition of The Graham Leader.

One day after halting plans to continue the reopening of the Texas economy, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the closure of all bars as well as other measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Abbott released an executive order, GA-28, Friday morning, which orders all bars to close by noon on Friday, June 26. Bars may still operate under a take out or delivery service, including alcohol to-go sales per Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

In addition to bars, all restaurants must go back to operating at 50% capacity on June 29.

Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must also be approved by local governments.

The order also states that “people shall not use commercial rafting or tubing services, including rental of rafts or tubes and transportation of people for the purpose of rafting or tubing.”

The executive order does not impact churches, youth camps, recreational sports, cosmetology salons, hair salons, barbershops, or nail salons/shops that operate with at least six feet between work stations.

The executive order goes into effect at noon on Friday, June 26.

“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,” said Gov. Abbott in a release. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and enhance public health. We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part. Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again.”

Texas experienced another record rise in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday with 5,966, including 4,739 hospitalizations. According to the Texas Tribune, Thursday marked the 10th straight day with a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. As of 4 p.m. on June 25, DSHS lists 12 active cases for Young County. The county has had 22 total cases, one death and no hospitalizations, according to DSHS.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

The Graham Leader

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