Citing a steady count in the amount of COVID-19 deaths and new cases reported daily, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez has decided to keep county bars closed.
“I am convinced that reopening bars this week – as Governor Greg Abbott is allowing with local consent – is too risky,” Judge Cortez said in a statement. “We are making great strides in convincing more and more people to change their habits by wearing facial coverings and avoiding crowds. This is having a positive effect on slowing down the rate of infection locally.”
Cortez’s announcement comes nearly one week after state Gov. Greg Abbott announced local municipalities have a say on whether or not to reopen bars at a 50% capacity as the occupancy rate for other businesses increase to 75%. After consulting with local health care experts who cited Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that bars remain a high-risk venue for the spread of COVID-19, as well as speaking with the mayors of the county’s 22 municipalities, Cortez said it is premature to allow bars in the county to reopen
“We continue to see double digit increases in our daily death count and triple digit increases in new positive cases,” Judge Cortez said. “We must bring these numbers down.”
In a news release, Judge Cortez pointed out that due to the increase of occupancy rate for businesses and Hidalgo County no longer listed as a high hospitalization area, the county will see what effect these measures have on the local community.