SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Bars in Bexar County must remain closed. Restaurants and businesses will have to roll back to 50 percent as coronavirus hospital patient numbers continue to rise.
The capacity restrictions are mandated under Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, which was issued in October. The governor’s order mandates that businesses in trauma service areas, such as Bexar County, reduce capacity to 50 percent or less when the percentage of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is higher than 15 percent for seven days in a row. On December 22 Bexar County hospitals reached 15.1% COVID patients. Monday was the seventh consecutive day with more than 15 percent of local hospital patients being treated for the virus.
The roll back requirement, which goes into effect Tuesday, includes zoos, museums, libraries, collegiate and professional sporting events.
When asked why the Alamo Bowl is being allowed to take place Tuesday night at the Alamodome as the number of coronavirus cases in hospitals continues to climb, the mayor replied that maximum capacity for the game is only 17 percent and there are mask requirements, social distancing rules and other COVID-19 protocols in place.
“The crowd will be wearing masks and the spacing is set up to ensure there’s no physical interaction with people,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “It’s a highly regulated environment and for those who don’t comply with that, they’re going to be removed.”
City Attorney Andy Segovia said in order for certain businesses to return to 75 percent capacity, the percentage of COVID-19 patients in hospitals must remain at 15 percent or less for seven days in a row.
“If the community continues to exercise mitigation efforts, hopefully we can get to that seven-day target sooner rather than later,” said Segovia.
Businesses and activities that are exempt from the requirement to roll back capacity include grocery stores, churches, schools, pharmacies, child care services and government operations.
Health officials reported Monday that 1,079 patients in local hospitals were being treated for coronavirus, an increase of 79 from Sunday. Of those, 299 were in ICU and 164 were on ventilators.
Forty-three new COVID-19 cases were reported Monday, but the mayor explained that there was a glitch in the state’s reporting system and health officials, not only in Bexar County, but across the state were unable to download the weekend test results. Those numbers will be reported Tuesday.
The positivity rate, which is the percentage of positive cases from the total number of tests, has risen to 19.2 percent.