Fort Worth edges back towards lockdown mode following an increase in COVID-19 cases that will shut down bars and force certain businesses, including restaurants, stores, and gyms, to reduce capacity to 50 percent.
The measure is a result of an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott that went into effect in October, requiring rollbacks if and when COVID-19 resurged.
- Bars will go from 50 percent to closed.
- Elective surgeries are on hold.
- Restaurants and businesses are now limited to 50 percent occupancy, from their previous 75 percent.
The benchmark was hospital beds: According to Abbott's order, if more than 15 percent of hospital beds were in use by COVID-19 patients for seven days in a row, then the rollbacks kicked in.
DFW currently has 15.6 percent of beds in use for COVID-19 patients. Occupancy can go back up if that percentage of hospital beds stays below 15 percent for a week.
The closure was not exactly a surprise. The number of patients being treated for COVID-19 in North Texas hospitals reached a new high on December 1. The average number of patients being treated daily in December was nearly three times as high as September, according to DFW/CBS.
The order affects counties across North Texas including Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Parker, and Collin counties.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will inform business and bar owners of the policy change, commission spokesperson Chris Porter told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said the county will leave it to the state and cities to enforce the governor’s policy.
Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins issued a statement:
"Today is the 7th consecutive day our region has been above the 15% of all available beds occupied by COVID19 patients threshold," he said. "Pursuant to @GovAbbott’s executive order GA-32, once today’s numbers are updated on the @TexasDSHS website (tonight) our region will be subject immediately to a decrease in all non essential business occupancy limits from 75% to 50% and other protocols laid out in GA-32."
The order will reduce the number of places people can gather which theoretically will reduce the spread of COVID-19.