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COVID-19 in Texas: What are the limits on businesses, activities now?

Gov. Greg Abbott's recent executive order updated some reopening guidelines for businesses.
Credit: WFAA

Gov. Greg Abbott's recent executive order reduced capacity for restaurants and closed bars. As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, Texans may be wondering where guidelines stand for businesses and activities. 

The state health department has issued guidelines for July 4 celebrations.

On Monday, restaurants reverted to 50% capacity to follow the order, which was implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The order closed bars and tubing businesses after finding direct links to COVID-19 infections and increasing hospitalization in the state.

Bars and establishments that receive more than 50% of sales from alcohol must be closed for in-person business. To-go and delivery orders are allowed.

Rafting and tubing businesses are to remain closed.

Masks required in businesses

Abbott's order allows local governing bodies to require businesses to mandate masks for guests and employees.

In North Texas, Dallas, Kaufman and Tarrant counties are requiring businesses to mandate face masks for employees and customers or they will face a fine. The cities of McKinney and Denton implemented the same mask orders.

RELATED: Here are the cities and counties in D-FW that require face masks at businesses

Reopening limits

Abbott updated reopening rules at some establishments, including scaling back occupancy limits on churches and child care services.

The new executive order says there are no longer occupancy limits for:

  • Religious services, including those at churches and houses of worship

  • Local government operations, like county and municipal operations related to licenses, permits and records.

  • Child care services

  • Youth camps

  • Recreational sports programs for youth

Outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people are not allowed, unless otherwise approved by city leaders. 

These outdoor areas and venues must operate at no more than 50% occupancy limits:

  • Professional, collegiate or similar sporting events

  • Swimming pools

  • Water parks

  • Museums and libraries

  • Zoos, aquariums, natural caverns and similar facilities

  • Rodeo and equestrian events

Amusement parks can open at 50% occupancy.

Abbott has allowed all other businesses and activities to reopen and encourages them to follow safety and health protocols, like wearing a face mask, 6-foot social distancing and hygiene etiquette.

RELATED: Downtown Dallas museums opt to delay reopening

July 4 celebrations

In the state department's minimum standard health protocols, it outlined that a county judge or mayor, in coordination with the local public health authority, must approve outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people. The protocols included July 4 celebrations.

The protocols for those permitted events include 6-foot social distancing, groups no larger than 10, face masks and sanitizing hands.

The health department says a county judge or mayor evaluating large gatherings of more than 100 people should consider the following factors: the overall number of projected attendees; the likelihood of individuals over the age of 65 attending; the density of the forum and the ability to ensure social distancing of 6 feet between individuals; and the level of transmission in the county.

RELATED: Where to watch July 4th fireworks on TV, online this year

State health department advisories

The state health department continues to encourage people to not be in groups larger than 10, wear a face mask and maintain 6 feet social distancing from those not in their group.

People over the age of 65 are strongly encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and to maintain an appropriate distance from any member of the household who has gone out of the home in the last 14 days. Go here for more information from the state health department.

What is still not allowed:

Visiting long-term care facilities

There are no visitations of nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities or long-term care facilities allowed, unless to provide critical assistance as determined by guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Abbott said in his Executive Order.

Crowds at concerts or other events

There's been no word on when spectators will be allowed again at large-gathering events, like festivals, or traditional concerts. Crowds of over 100 people are not allowed unless specifically allowed by a mayor or a judge.

Drive-in concerts are allowed, as long as spectators remain in their vehicles and maintain social-distancing, Abbott said.

What's coming up?

Phase 3 of reopening was announced June 3, but Abbott announced on June 25 that the state will pause any further phases to reopen Texas as the state responds to the increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

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