Following Gov. Greg Abbott's announcement last week giving counties the ability to opt in to reopening bars, Parker County Judge Pat Deen and Palo Pinto County Judge Shane Long announced that bars in their counties would reopen, effective today, Oct. 14.
The decision came after discussions with local mayors, city staff and feedback from Medical City Weatherford's executive leadership, according to a statement from Deen's office Tuesday night.
"Based on the feedback received and evaluating our current numbers, we feel comfortable we can take this action and continue to maintain an effective containment strategy in Parker County," according to the release. "We will continue to monitor the data received by DSHS as we go forward, as well as hospital bed capacity."
Long said Palo Pinto County's decision came Tuesday night after consulting with the county and city emergency management offices as well as the hospital to make sure they were under the 15-percent surge capacity on COVID-19 beds.
"We had a few establishments that fell under restaurants that have been open," Long said. "We didn't feel like reopening the bars was going to be a problem with COVID-19, and might even be helpful to those that own those businesses."
The opening of the bars will be required to abide by the minimum standard health protocols as outlined by TABC. Under Abbott's announcement, bars will be able to resume in-person services at 50% capacity, though all customers must be seated while eating or drinking. The governor placed no outdoors capacity limit at bars or similar establishments.
"If these restrictions and rules are not followed, then we will have to shut these businesses down again," according to the Parker County release. "So, taking personal responsibility is critical as we continue to get our businesses open again and get our economy opened up."
To review to minimum standard health protocols, visit parkercountytx.com/DocumentCenter/View/7239/OpenTexas-Checklist-Bars.