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Southeast Texas bars can reopen, businesses back to 75 percent capacity after week of lower COVID-19 hospitalizations

Bars and restaurants are increasing capacity after a Thanksgiving spike in hospitalizations caused businesses to scale back to 50 percent in December.

BEAUMONT, Texas — For the first time since the end of December, COVID-19 hospitalization rates were below 15 percent, lifting some restrictions across Southeast Texas. 

A spike in hospitalization rates after Thanksgiving caused grocery stores and restaurants to scale back to 50 percent by Tuesday, Dec. 22. Bars did not reclassify as a restaurant were ordered to close. 

The Texas Department of State Health Services sent a letter Monday, Dec. 21 to county judges in Southeast Texas, stating that COVID-19 hospitalization rates were over 15 percent for the previous seven days, triggering the increase in restrictions.

"The department of state health services has issued the numbers and they are self-enacting," Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said. 

The restrictions can be lifted for all Texas counties within region TSA-R, which includes Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton and Orange Counties, according to the Texas DSHS website. 

Hospitalizations have to be below 15 percent for seven consecutive days to allow COVID-19 restrictions to be lessened. Bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen Oct. 14, 2020, after another spike in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in summer 2020. 

State TSA-R hospitalization data for February: 

  • 2/1 - 16.35 percent
  • 2/2 - 15.12
  • 2/3 - 17.31
  • 2/4 - 16.81
  • 2/5 - 16.4
  • 2/6 - 16.19
  • 2/7 - 15.19
  • 2/8 = 15.99
  • 2/9 - 14.74
  • 2/10 - 13.91
  • 2/11 - 13.68
  • 2/12 - 14.37
  • 2/13 - 15.06
  • 2/14 - 14.07
  • 2/15 - 13.64 
  • 2/16 - 13.74
  • 2/17 - 12.94
  • 2/18 - 12.67
  • 2/19 - 12.1

RELATED: Southeast Texas bars must close, businesses rolling back to 50% capacity after week of high COVID-19 hospitalizations

READ MORE: Jefferson County announces opt-in to allow bars to reopen with social distancing guidelines

RELATED: Beaumont bar owner remains defiant after second TABC shutdown

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