CEDAR PARK, Texas - A high hospitalization rate for COVID-19 may trigger a rollback for capacity limits at bars and restaurants across Central Texas.
Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 have surpassed 15% in Central Texas. Under an executive order issued last year by Gov. Greg Abbott, a rollback of occupancy might soon be implemented in counties such as Williamson County.
"As a bar owner it’s not something I want but I think it’s the best thing I really do," said Sonya Holloway, owner of the Cedar Park Pub.
According to that executive order businesses that are allowed to operate at 75% occupancy must roll back to 50%. Bars that are not operating as restaurants cannot operate indoors but may offer drive-thru pick up or delivery options. "If we could just contain it, if everybody just sit tight for a month I think would help a lot," said Holloway.
Hays County has also stated they will be following the executive order. Both Williamson and Hays counties reported they could be implemented as early as Monday.
Holloway said she knows just how devastating the virus can be and so she’s willing to close up shop if it helps prevent the spread especially since operating with the limits now is costing her more than what the pub makes. "With the bartender salary, paying the door person, and the person to sanitize it, I was exceeding any income I was bringing in so it’s best just to shut it down," said Holloway.
Those exempt from this executive order include religious services, local government operations, childcare services, and sports programs with schools.
Holloway said when they first had to shut down last spring, she never expected the pandemic to last into the new year.
In order for businesses to return to 75% occupancy, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 must go below 15% for seven consecutive days.