Bars and similar establishments are allowed to reopen in Burnet and Llano counties after state health officials an-nounced the area’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate had dropped below the threshhold which had triggered restrictions for the past 20 days.
Restaurants and other businesses in both counties are also able to increase capacity from 50 percent back to 75 percent in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order GA-32, allowing them to serve more customers with fewer constraints, while doctors are now able to resume elective operative procedures at area hospitals.
The reprieve comes after hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the 11 counties which comprise Trauma Service Area O fell below 15 percent of total hospitalizations and have remained that way for more than seven consecutive days.
On Saturday, Jan. 30, the percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations for Trauma Service Area O was at 11.9 percent, the lowest it had been since Sunday, Jan. 10, when the counties in TSA O were informed by the Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt the area “meets the definition of a high hospitalization area and so may not conduct elective surgeries or reopen to the higher levels allowable under GA-32.”
According to GA-32, “in areas with high hospitalizations ... any business establishment that otherwise would have a 75 percent occupancy or operating limit may operate at up to only 50 percent.”
GA-32 also states people “shall not visit bars or similar establishments” that are located in counties which are in high hospitalization areas, though bars can still offer “drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks ... to the extent authorized by TABC.”
Once counties have had a period of at least seven consecutive days without exceeding the threshhold of 15 percent, they are allowed to resume operating under GA-32 guidelines.
As of Sunday, Jan. 31, Burnet County has had 42 fatalities and currently has 190 active cases with 2,122 recovered, 205 currently probable and 2,149 confirmed cases. Llano County has had 612 confirmed cases with 308 currently probable, 132 active, 753 recovered and 35 fatalities, according to the DSHS website.