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State: County bars again must close

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According to a Monday email from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Kendall County again is required to close its bars to inside traffic and reduce restaurant capacity to 50 percent from 75 percent. 

The email stated, "The order is enforceable as soon TABC's website is updated to reflect the (county's) new status." 

As of 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, December 28, Kendall County was not identified as a county opted-in to open bars and increase restaurant capacity, therefore putting the state order into effect.

County Judge Darrel Lux said he received an email from the TABC last weekend. In an email to The Star, a representative from the TABC said the email was notifying Lux the Trauma Service Area that includes Kendall County experienced a 15 percent or greater COVID-19 hospitalization rate for seven consecutive days as of Sunday, December 27, meaning the county may no longer have bars open and must reduce restaurant capacity under Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order GA-32.

Jeff Fincke, the county's emergency management coordinator, said county staff are contesting the state's claim, asking for clarification on which cases the state is and is not counting. Fincke said county staff want to know if the state is counting new, recovered cases in its data or just looking at new, active cases.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kendall County Judge Darrel Lux emailed a statement to The Boerne Star and other entities that reads as follows:

 

KENDALL COUNTY, Texas – Kendall County Judge Darrel Lux announced today that the county’s businesses now operating at 75% capacity will have to cut back to 50% capacity and all bars must close due to COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region.

The cutbacks were mandated in Gov. Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 that went into effect in October. That order allowed certain venues to open up to 75% capacity unless they were located in a Trauma Service Area with seven consecutive days where the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients exceeded 15% of the total hospital capacity. That total capacity number was met on Sunday.

Kendall County is located in Trauma Service Area P, along with Bexar County and numerous other counties.

“This pandemic has been more than just difficult for so many people. It has caused damage to our physical, emotional and financial health. It seems just when we can take no more, it deals us another blow,” said Judge Darrel Lux. “It’s relentless. This is not my choice or decision, the Governor has issued orders that I am required to relay to our business owners.”

“It is my hope that the current surge is short-lived and with the distribution of several COVID vaccines we will be able to return to a new sense of normalcy soon,” Lux continued. “We need to get back to supporting our economy. During this time, please do all you can to support our local businesses in any way you can. They need our help.”

In addition to reducing capacity to 50% and bar closures, all elective surgeries are also suspended, effective immediately.

The restrictions will remain in place until Trauma Service Area P is below 15% for seven consecutive days.

More information will be published in the Friday, January 1, Boerne Star.