Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Orders Bars to Close Again, Bans Outdoor Gatherings of More Than 100

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
After days of saying he doesn't want to reverse course on reopening Texas' economy, Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday ordered bars to close and told restaurants to scale back to 50% capacity.

The move comes as the state grapples with record numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. The order also bans outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people, unless approved by local officials, and prohibits activities such as river-rafting. 

“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars," Abbott said in a written statement. "The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health."

Abbott's newest action mark the first time he's reversed the economic opening process he kicked off in late April. Although the governor has faced criticism for opening too quickly and without adequate public health input, he's repeatedly said that he views a second shutdown as a last resort.

Prior to the Friday announcement, bars were able to operate at 50% capacity and restaurants at 75%.

Under the new order, bars are expected to close at noon Friday. Restaurants will have until Monday to reduce their capacity.

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