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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, above, issued an executive order to immediately close bars and roll back restaurants to 50% capacity.

Texas and Florida shut down on-premise service at bars as coronavirus case counts soar

Restaurants in Texas also rolled back to 50% capacity

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday issued an executive order to immediately close bars and roll back restaurants to 50% capacity, starting Monday.

The move comes as the number of residents testing positive for coronavirus has increased more than 10%, which the governor had said previously would lead to stricter preventive action. On Thursday, Abbott paused the reopening plan, citing concern about the rising number of cases across the state.

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the state of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Abbott in a statement. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”

Under the order, establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcohol were ordered to close at noon Friday. Those businesses are allowed to stay open for delivery and takeout, including to-go alcohol.

Restaurants — which had been allowed to operate at 75% capacity — starting Monday will be forced to pull back to 50% for dine-in service. Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with some exceptions, Abbott said.

Florida also closed its bars as a result of skyrocketing coronavirus case counts.

Halsey Beshears, secretary of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, announced Friday that bars that derive more than 50% of gross revenue from alcohol sales must suspend on-premise consumption. They can continue to sell alcohol to-go in sealed containers.

Restaurants that derive most sales from food are allowed to continue offering dine-in service at 75% capacity under phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan.

For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

TAGS: Coronavirus
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