On Monday, Texas governor Greg Abbott hinted that bars — which have been shuttered for months in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic — could be allowed to reopen their doors soon.
Abbott signaled the potentially impending reopening in a tweet, saying that he would be announcing additional reopening measures soon, as “Texans have continued to keep COVID under control.” The governor didn’t specifically single out bars, but he did pair the announcement with a popular toast and a GIF of two beer mugs clinking together, fueling speculation that bar reopening is in the works.
“The hospitalizations, number of new positive cases, and positivity rate remain contained,” Abbott wrote in the tweet. “Today was one of the lowest for fatalities in a long time.”
Bars in Texas have been closed since at least June 26, when Abbott ordered the establishments to shut down again after allowing them to reopen for about a month between mid-May and mid-June. During that brief reopening period, COVID-19 cases spiked across the state. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said in a June press conference announcing the closures.
In response, Dallas County judge Clay Jenkins cited the county’s public health committee, which “strongly discourages the reopening of bars at this time.” “Unfortunately, we are now seeing an increase in daily new cases and hospitalizations in North Texas,” Jenkins said. Across the state, hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have risen over the past few weeks, and Dallas County continues to report hundreds of new COVID-19 cases each day.
Abbott has not clarified what “soon” means in terms of announcing a reopening of Texas bars. Stay tuned for more details.