The cases of COVID-19 have risen to a point that now bars and restaurants could be forced to have to lower capacity limits.

We saw cases of COVID-19 spike following the Thanksgiving holiday, so I guess this really is no surprise as once again, following the Christmas & New Year holidays, that cases are spiking again.

Bell County Judge David Blackburn warned us last week that he would shut down bars and limit capacity at restaurants if Bell County continued to see a spike in hospitalizations and that's exactly what's happening. The post-Christmas spike is upon us.

The CDC warned us not to travel, asking Americans to keep things low-key for the holidays, but that seemed to fall on deaf ears. Now bar and restaurant owners are the businesses that will feel the effect.

According to KCEN, Judge Blackburn said at a meeting of the Bell County commissioners Monday morning that restaurants and other businesses would need to drop capacity to 50% to follow accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott's Executive Order GA-32. Abbott's order outlines protocols for capacity limits when  COVID-19 hospitalizations top 15% for seven consecutive days. Bell County is at a rate of 21.64% since Dec. 30th.  At that rate, bars would need to close.

We reached out to Judge Blackburn's office for clarification after we saw the KCEN report. Judge Blackburn emailed us back to say that he is awaiting official notification from the Texas Department of State Health Services, which he expects to reach him within the next day or two.

According to Judge Blackburn, businesses affected by a 50% occupancy limit would include restaurants, retail stores, and gyms. Some businesses classified as essential under GA-32 would be exempt, as well as childcare services and churches, he wrote.

Click here for video of Judge Blackburn’s comments on the expected triggering of the Governor’s orders. His comments on the subject begin just before the 20 minute mark.

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