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Daily Record infographic by Colton Ashabranner

High COVID-19 hospitalization rate triggers tighter restrictions in Hays County

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Tighter COVID-19-related restrictions in Hays County will go into effect Monday at midnight, the county said in social media post on Sunday. 

The restrictions come after Trauma Service Area O, which encompasses Hays, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties, has seen seven consecutive days of the number of COVID-19 patients exceeding 15% of hospital capacity. These restrictions — outlined in Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Orders GA-31 and GA-32 — roll back business occupancy to 50% from 75%, close bars and elective surgeries may have to be rescheduled.

As of Friday, the Hays County Local Health Department has 36 county residents hospitalized by the disease. Hays County has seen 41 hospitalizations since Dec. 31, 2020.

With the additional restrictions, bars that are not operating restaurants under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission rules must close. But those businesses can continue to offer drive-thru, pickup or delivery options for food and drinks to the extent authorized by TABC, the county said.

Additionally, other business establishments that are operating at 75% capacity must operate at up to only 50%, which includes restaurants, bars operating as restaurants, office buildings, manufacturers, museums, libraries, gyms and fitness facilities and classes.

The governor’s GA-31 order states elective surgeries must reschedule unless they “would not deplete any hospital capacity needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.”

The restrictions, as laid out by the governor’s orders, do not impact religious services, local government operations, childcare services, public or private schools drive-in movies, person care/beauty establishments with at least six feet of social distancing between work stations, youth camps, adult or youth recreation sports and service listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.

If additional restrictions are put into place, businesses would be able to go back to 75% when the TSA hospitalization rate for COVID-19 falls below 15% for seven consecutive days, according to Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32.

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