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Texas restaurants, stores, offices and gyms can now open to 75% capacity

More businesses in the Houston area and other regions can now expand their reopenings as part of an announcement made last week by Gov. Greg Abbott.

HOUSTON — Texas Governor Greg Abbott last week announced an expanded reopening plan for most of the state as COVID-19 numbers continue to drop.

Effective Monday, Sept. 21, restaurants, stores, offices, manufacturing facilities and gyms can all open at 75% capacity in the Greater Houston Area and 18 other regions.

Editor's note: the video in this story is from Sept. 17 when the partial reopening plans were revealed by Gov. Abbott

More recently they were restricted to 50% because of the spike in coronavirus cases in populated areas. There is hope the reopenings will bring relief to many businesses.

There are also impacts to the healthcare industry in Texas this week:

  • Hospitals in the 19 regions can return to performing elective procedures. 
  • Effective Sept. 24, eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities will be able to designate up to two essential family caregivers for visitation.

The one big category of businesses that is not opening yet is bars. Bars across the state will remain closed unless they operate as restaurants because "they are nationally recognized as COVID-spreading locations," Abbott said last Thursday.

Many bar owners have expressed disapproval that they are not yet being allowed to reopen simply because they do not serve food.

“Now they’re telling you that if you serve a pre-packaged sandwich from 7-11, that you’re no longer a public health threat," Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance President Michael Klein said last week.