Texas governor orders bars, tubing and rafting businesses to close amid surge in virus cases

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Tubers float the Comal River despite the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in New Braunfels, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a new executive order to close bars at 12 p.m. Friday and then limit restaurants to 50% capacity starting Monday in order to help prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action,” Abbott said in a statement. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”

Any establishments that receive more than 51% of its sales from alcohol must close their doors, but they are permitted to remain open for take-out and delivery.

Starting Monday, restaurants can remain open but have to scale back capacity to 50%.

Rafting and tubing businesses must also close, and outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must get approval from local governments.

“We want this to be as limited in duration as possible,” Abbott said. “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.”

Michael Klein, the president of the Texas Bar and Nightclub Association, had no idea the order was announced until after he was contacted by KXAN for comment.

“I need to call you back,” he told KXAN’s Alex Caprareillo about 10 minutes after Abbott released the order.

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