North Texas is three days away from a roll-back of relaxed state COVID-19 restrictions as cases climb statewide.
Per an order issued by Governor Greg Abbott in October, if COVID-19 hospitalizations make up 15% of a regions hospital capacity for seven straight days the following will occur:
- Business capacity drops to 50%.
- Bars are closed.
- Elective surgeries put on hold.
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“We will hit that trigger very soon but those things alone won’t be enough to turn this trend,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.
Jenkins said he believes unless people take it upon themselves to avoid gatherings the numbers will continue to climb and many will become unnecessarily ill only months from the widespread arrival of a vaccine.
“Out of the spirit of sacrifice for the community and patriotism, until that vaccine arrives, we need to forgo those things that we understandably want to do,” Jenkins said.
For restaurants in particular, a potential rollback of capacity is the latest blow in a seemingly never-ending list of COVID-19 related challenges that began in March. But many say going from 75% to 50% will have little real impact on their business.
“I’m no scientist and I’m no expert but that’s not what is going to combat this,” restaurant owner and entrepreneur Brooks Anderson said.
Anderson said he was more concerned about the impact of the long term inability of government officials to contain the virus. The negative effects on the restaurant industry, he said, go much deeper than just the countless Dallas area restaurants forced to close.
“That whole family of businesses that make restaurants go, they are all hurting too, it has been a mess, it has been a mess,” Anderson said.
There are already six Trauma Service Areas that have surpassed 15% capacity for seven or more days — the regions centered around Amarillo, Lubbock, El Paso, Midland-Odessa, Laredo and Waco.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.