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North Texas restaurants again required to reduce occupancy to 50% because of COVID-19 hospitalizations

For this capacity limit to go back up, COVID-19 patients must make up less than 15% of the total capacity for seven straight days.

An order by Gov. Greg Abbott is requiring restaurant capacity in North Texas to be reduced from 75% to 50%.

This order went into effect Thursday after the North Texas region reported its seventh straight day with COVID-19 patients making up at least 15% of the hospitals' total capacity.

Non-essential businesses like gyms and retail stores in the area also must abide by this order.

Gov. Abbott confirmed Thursday this new capacity limit should now go into effect for the North Texas region.

For the occupancy limit to go back up, COVID-19 patients must make up less than 15% of the total capacity for seven straight days.

RELATED: 'It's as bad as it has been, and it's going to get worse': COVID-19 hospitalizations set records in North Texas

The 19-county region includes Dallas and Tarrant counties and smaller counties like Rockwall, Wise, and Denton counties.

The region currently has 2,545 people hospitalized with COVID-19, which makes up 15.6% of the hospitals' total capacity.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins released a statement Thursday saying that Dallas County will abide by this order and require all non-essential businesses to reduce capacity from 75% to 50%.

On March 19, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order that prohibited dining-in at Texas restaurants. On April 27, he announced Phase 1 of reopening would begin as businesses, including restaurants, could open back up to 25% capacity.

Gov. Abbott allowed restaurants to expand capacity to 50% on May 22 and 75% on June 12.

Later that month, Gov. Abbott ordered all Texas restaurants to reduce capacity back to 50% as a part of an executive order on June 26.

Abbott increased that percentage again to 75% on Sept. 17. That is where it has since remained.

Tarrant County currently has the most people hospitalized in the region. County health officials reported there are 884 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday.

That makes up 18% of all beds in Tarrant County hospitals. This COVID-19 capacity percentage has remained above 15% for 12 consecutive days, according to Tarrant County health officials.

Credit: Jay Wallis