Gov. Greg Abbott today (Sept 17th) announced that he is easing his coronavirus restrictions on many businesses and is allowing a resumption of elective surgeries in some parts of the state. 

Alsothe state will allow more visitors at nursing homes that meet certain protocols starting next Thursday. 

Abbott did not however reopen bars. While Abbott did not lift his June 26 order closing bars, some have been able to take advantage of a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission initiative that lets them be considered restaurants, as long as more than half of their sales are from food. 

Governor Abbott said “If we fully reopen Texas without limits without safe practices, it could lead to an unsustainable increase in COVID that would require the possibility of being forced to ratchet back downThe better approach is to safely take strategic steps that help Texans return to jobs, while also protecting them from COVID-19.” 

Under Abbott’s new plan, starting Monday, if they’re in a hospital region that for at least seven consecutive days has fewer than 15% of its hospital beds filled with COVID-19 patients, a number of  businesses and facilities currently limited to 50% capacity can go to 75%. These include: RestaurantsRetail establishmentsOffice buildingsManufacturing facilitiesLibrariesMuseums and Gyms. 

In those areas, effective immediately, he’s also lifting his second prohibition of elective surgeries this year. 

Abbott’s statewide mask order remains in effect. “COVID does still exist, and most Texans remain susceptible,” he said. 

On nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, the Health and Human Services Commission said that, beginning Sept. 24, each resident will be allowed to designate up to two “essential caregivers” who can visit, provided they’ve tested negative in the previous 14 days and have been trained in proper use of personal protective equipment if the facilities that meet certain standards. 

We will keep you updated as more decisions are made concerning restrictions in Texas. 

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