Hill County Bars Closed, Businesses Knocked Back to 50% Occupancy Due to COVID-19 Hospitalization Rate

TSA M must have seven days with COVID-19 hospitalizations below 15% to once again open bars, expand capacity

hospital worker in PPE
NBC 5 News

Bars are once again closing in Hill County and other businesses, including restaurants and retail centers, are ordered to operate with only 50% occupancy due to the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Hill County Judge Justin Lewis issued a statement Monday saying he'd been notified by the Texas Department of State Health Services and Gov. Greg Abbott's office that Trauma Sevice Area "M," of which Hill County is a part, exceeded seven consecutive days where the COVID-19 hospitalization rate was higher than 15%.

"This is what I was praying we would avoid," Lewis said in a statement.

According to Abbott's executive order GA-32, any TSA that has seven consecutive days in which the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients exceeds 15% of hospital capacity, the counties in that TSA must reduce all restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities, museums and libraries to 50% occupancy levels. Bars in those TSAs must also close and all licensed hospitals are required to discontinue elective surgeries.

Those changes will remain in place until the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients drops below 15% for seven consecutive days.

"Folks, this virus is running rampant through our county. We all need to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19," Lewis said in a statement. "Hill County has had 249 cases reported in the last 14 days. We are quickly outpacing our medical resources. Please wear your masks, please practice social distancing and please quarantine if you are sick or have come into contact with someone who has the virus."

The following counties are included in TSA M and are subject to the same restrictions unless that county separately qualifies for the greater occupancy levels because it has minimal cases of COVID-19 under the DSHS attestation process: Bosque County, Falls County, Hill County, Limestone County, McLennan County.

Hill County is operating a regional COVID testing center at the county fairgrounds at 205 Stadium Drive. .You don’t have to be from Hill County to make use of the site. There is no need to make an appointment or to call ahead. The hours of operation are Monday through Sunday 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The testing is free of charge and the results are typically reported in 24 to 72 hours.

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