Any business in Williamson County that has been operating at 75% capacity has been mandated by state order to reduce to 50%.

On Sunday, Jan. 10, Williamson County, which falls under Trauma Service Area (TSA) Region O, received notification from the Texas Department of State Health Services that the area has hit a high hospitalization rate for seven consecutive days. Per Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, Region O now falls under reduced capacity limits for certain businesses.

Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 went into effect Oct. 14, and states that when the TSA has a high hospitalization rate, any business establishment that was allowed to operate at 75% occupancy limit must roll back to a 50% occupancy limit. A high hospitalization rate is defined in the order as any TSA that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of the total hospital capacity exceeds 15%.

A rollback to occupancy limits does not affect businesses such as religious services, local government operations, child care services, youth camps, recreation sports programs for youth and adults, public or private schools, and drive-in concerts, movies or similar events, which are listed as having no occupancy limit according to the order. Personal care and beauty services can operate with at least six feet of social distancing between workstations.

All of the exemptions and information in GA-32 can be found on the governor’s website at https://gov.texas.gov.  

“We all must consistently follow the personal protective measures we have been emphasizing throughout the course of this pandemic,” said Gravell. “Please wear a mask, watch your distance around people outside your household, and wash your hands frequently. This is the best way to keep ourselves and our family members safe and reduce the number of people being hospitalized daily.”  

In addition, GA-32 states that bars or similar establishments that are not restaurants cannot operate indoors on premises, but may offer drive-thru, pickup or delivery options as authorized by the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC). The occupancy limit applies only to indoor and not outdoor areas, events or establishments, although social distancing and other safety protocols must be followed.

According to Abbott’s order, businesses that have been required to roll back to a 50% occupancy limit may return to 75% occupancy when the TSA hospitalization rate for COVID-19 returns to below 15% for seven consecutive days.  

For more information on GA-32 and data on hospitalizations, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services’ dedicated page at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.

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