Since the beginning of the pandemic, bars across the state have been shuttered twice by order of Governor Greg Abbott. His second order came back in June, and the closures have remained in place ever since. Despite a number of bars converting themselves into restaurants in order to make ends meet, many bars were unable to make that change. But on Monday, Abbott gave bar owners and employees a glimmer of hope with a (not-so) cryptic tweet.
Texans have continued to keep COVID under control.
The hospitalizations, number of new positive cases, and positivity rate remain contained. Today was one of the lowest for fatalities in a long time.
I will be announcing more openings soon.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 5, 2020
In August, Abbott laid out the necessary benchmarks he said must be met before any discussions could be had on allowing bars to reopen. They included the stabilization of both hospitalizations and new cases, as well as a positivity rate of testing below 10-percent. Abbott also said bar owners would have to show that they’ve made progress in implementing new safety protocols that go well beyond what was seen when bars reopened the first time.
“It was after they were open that we saw an increase in the spread of COVID-19 that led to the necessity of closing them,” Abbott said.
As of Tuesday morning, Johns Hopkins University shows Texas with a positivity rate that is under 6-percent.
It’s unclear when Abbott may make that new announcement.