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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

UPDATE: Hays County becomes eligible for business capacity increase

Hays+County+Seal

Hays County Seal

Update: Jan. 31
Hays County businesses are eligible to return to 75% capacity levels following news that it, as part of “Trauma Service Area O,” has remained under the 15% COVID-19 hospitalization threshold for seven consecutive days.
According to a press release, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra received a letter on Jan. 31 from Director of Texas Department of State Health Services John Hellerstedt about the news, as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32.
In the county’s most recent COVID-19 update, the total number of hospitalizations was 654 and total current hospitalizations was 37 after five people were hospitalized and seven were discharged.
Update: Jan. 10 
Capacity limits for Hays County will go into effect at midnight following a letter from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that officially stated the county’s Trauma Service Area (TSA) has exceeded 15% of COVID-19 patients for seven consecutive days. 
Businesses are now required to rollback to 50% capacity but may return to 75% when the TSA hospitalization rate for COVID-19 returns to below 15% for seven consecutive days. 
Hays County is in TSA Region O which exceeded 15% of COVID-19 hospitalizations Jan. 3 and has continued to increase. 
Original story
Due to a steady increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past seven days, Hays County anticipates to implement capacity limit rollbacks beginning Jan. 11 under governor orders.  
If implemented, bars will be required to close, elective surgeries may be rescheduled and businesses operating at 75% occupancy will reduce to 50%.
These restrictions come from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders GA-31 and GA-32. Executive order GA-32 went into effect Oct. 14, 2020 and details any business operating at 75% occupancy must rollback to 50% once a Texas Trauma Service Area (TSA) exhibits a high hospitalization rate. 
“A high hospitalization rate is defined in the order as seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of the total hospital capacity exceeds 15%,” Hays County Health Department Director Tammy Crumley said in a press release.
Hays County is in TSA Region O which includes surrounding counties such as Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Lee, Llano, San Saba, Travis and Williamson. Region O’s hospitalization exceeded 15% Jan. 3 and has continued to increase.
Businesses required to rollback to 50% may return to 75% occupancy when the TSA hospitalization rate for COVID-19 returns to below 15% for seven consecutive days. 
If the county is required to undergo restrictions, bars not operating as restaurants must close but may continue to offer drive-thru, pickup or delivery options to the extent allowed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. 
Additionally, retail establishments, restaurants, office buildings, manufactures, museums, libraries and gyms will have to operate up to only 50%. 
Elective surgeries will need to be rescheduled unless they do not exhaust hospital capacity needed to facilitate with COVID-19 care. 
The following activities and services will not be impacted by occupancy changes:

  • religious services
  • local government operations
  • childcare services
  • public or private schools
  • youth camps
  • adult or youth recreational sports
  • drive-in movies, concerts or similar events
  • personal care or beauty establishments
  • service listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its guidance of the essential critical infrastructure workforce 

For more information, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website. 

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