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Governor Limits Some Businesses, Services Following Statewide Spikes In COVID-19 Case

Texas Governor Greg Abbott today issued another executive order in response to the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases across the state. The order places limits on some businesses, such as bars, and services such as water and outdoor activities.

Governor Greg Abbott issues an executive order limiting some businesses and services in response to the spike in COVID-19 cases across the state this week.

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10 percent, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and enhance public health.”

The order includes the following:

  • All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. 
  • Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.
  • Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
  • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

“We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. 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. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again,” Abbott said.

Governor’s Executive Order GA-28

The 17 points of the Governor’s Executive Order GA-28 regarding limits to certain businesses and services reads as follows:

Every business establishment in Texas shall operate at no more than 50 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment; provided, however, that:

There is no occupancy limit for the following:
a. any services listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in its Guidance
on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 3.1 or any
subsequent version;
b. religious services, including those conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship;
c. local government operations, including county and municipal
governmental operations relating to licensing (including marriage
licenses), permitting, recordation, and document-filing services, as
determined by the local government;
d. child-care services;
e. youth camps, including but not limited to those defined as such under
Chapter 141 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and including all
summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps for youths; and
f. recreational sports programs for youths and adults;

Except as provided below by paragraph number 5, this 50 percent occupancy limit does not apply to outdoor areas, events, or establishments, except that the following outdoor areas or outdoor venues shall operate at no more than 50 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the owner:
a. professional, collegiate, or similar sporting events;
b. swimming pools;
c. water parks;
d. museums and libraries;
e. zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities; and

f. rodeos and equestrian events;

  1. This 50 percent occupancy limit does not apply to the following establishments that operate with at least six feet of social distancing between work stations:
    a. cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons/shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade;
    b. massage establishments and other facilities where licensed massage
    therapists or other persons licensed or otherwise authorized to practice
    under Chapter 455 of the Texas Occupations Code practice their trade; and
    c. other personal-care and beauty services such as tanning salons, tattoo
    studios, piercing studios, hair removal services, and hair loss treatment and growth services;
  2. Amusement parks shall operate at no more than 50 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the owner;
  3. For any outdoor gathering in excess of 100 people, other than those set forth above in paragraph numbers 1, 2, or 4, the gathering is prohibited unless the mayor of the city in which the gathering is held, or the county judge in the case of a gathering in an unincorporated area, approves of the gathering, and such approval can be made subject to certain conditions or restrictions not
    inconsistent with this executive order;
  4. For dine-in services by restaurants that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages, the occupancy limit shall remain at 75 percent until 12:01 a.m. on June 29, 2020, at which time such restaurants may only operate at up to 50 percent of the total listed occupancy of the restaurant, subject to paragraph number 9 below;
  5. People shall not visit bars or similar establishments that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and are not restaurants as defined above in paragraph number 6; provided, however, that the use by such bars or similar establishments of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks is allowed to the extent authorized by TABC;
  6. People shall not use commercial rafting or tubing services, including rental of rafts or tubes and transportation of people for the purpose of rafting or tubing;
  7. For any business establishment that is subject to a 50 percent “total listed
    occupancy” limit or “normal operating limit,” and that is in a county that has filed with DSHS, and is in compliance with, the requisite attestation form promulgated by DSHS regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, the business establishment may operate at up to 75 percent of the total listed occupancy or normal operating limit of the establishment;
  8. for purposes of this executive order, facilities with retractable roofs are
    considered indoor facilities, whether the roof is opened or closed;
  9. Staff members are not included in determining operating levels, except for manufacturing services and office workers;
  10. Except as provided in this executive order or in the minimum standard health protocols recommended by DSHS, found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus, people should not be in groups larger than ten and should maintain six feet of social distancing from those not in their group;
  11. People over the age of 65 are strongly encouraged to stay at home as much as possible; to maintain appropriate distance from any member of the household who has been out of the residence in the previous 14 days; and, if leaving the home, to implement social distancing and to practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation;
  1. In providing or obtaining services, every person (including individuals,
    businesses, and other legal entities) should use good-faith efforts and available resources to follow the minimum standard health protocols recommended by DSHS;
  2. Nothing in this executive order or the DSHS minimum standards precludes requiring a customer to follow additional hygiene measures when obtaining services. Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings, but no jurisdiction can impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering;
  3. People shall not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities should follow infection control policies and practices set forth by HHSC, including minimizing the movement of staff between facilities whenever possible; and
  4. For the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, public schools may resume operations for the summer as provided by, and under the minimum standard health protocols found in, guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Private schools and institutions of higher education are encouraged to establish similar standards.

Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, schools may conduct graduation ceremonies consistent with the minimum standard health protocols found in guidance issued by TEA.

This executive order shall supersede any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster, but only to the extent that such a local order restricts services allowed by this executive order, allows gatherings prohibited by this executive order, or expands the list or scope of services as set forth in this executive order. Pursuant to Section 418.0 16(a) of the Texas Government Code, I hereby suspend Sections 418.1015(b) and 418.10$ of the Texas Government Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter E of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and any other relevant statutes, to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not impose restrictions in response to the COVID-19 disaster that are inconsistent with this executive order, provided that local officials may enforce this executive order as well as local restrictions that are consistent with this executive order.

All existing state executive orders relating to COVTD-19 are amended to eliminate confinement in jail as an available penalty for violating the executive orders. To the extent any order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster would allow confinement in jail as an available penalty for violating a COVD-l9-related order, that order allowing confinement in jail is superseded, and I hereby suspend all relevant laws to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not confine people in jail for violating any executive order or local order issued in response to the COVJD-19 disaster.

The full 6-page Executive Order GA-28 filed at 8:45 a.m. June 26 by Governor Greg Abbott may be downloaded by clicking here.


Author: Faith Huffman

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