Houston-area county judges react to Texas Governor's Executive order on reopening bars

Hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that bars could reopen in the state, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says not in her county. However, other county judges are opting in. 

According to the governor's order, starting Oct. 14 bars and similar establishments in counties with low hospitalization rates can reopen at 50% capacity.

Bars in Texas can reopen Oct. 14 at 50% capacity, depends on each County Judge

Each Texas County Judge has the power to opt in to allow bars and similar establishments to reopen under Gov. Abbott's new order.

Gov. Abbott gave the power to each County Judges to decide whether their county will opt-in.

Judge Hidalgo says Harris County cannot responsibly have further reopenings until the virus is under control.

She released a statement that read, in part, "The data guiding county decision-making tells us we are doing much better than we were a few months ago, but we are still at the highest level [of the Harris County Threat Level System]: red. Indoor, maskless gatherings should not be taking place right now, and this applies to bars, as well."

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Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said on social media Wednesday afternoon said, "As County Judge for Montgomery County, I wholeheartedly believe all business should be open 100% not 75% or 50%. However, per the Governors latest Executive Order I hereby opt-in and our TABC licensed businesses in Montgomery County may resume operations per the Governors order at 50% on October 14."

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said the county will also open bars. "My staff is reviewing Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-32 issued earlier today which gives County Judge's the authority to finally reopen bars within their county. Expect an announcement from me officially tomorrow, but I want to let these small business owners know that I will be reopening bars immediately in Galveston County."

Fort Bend County Judge KP George said the county is still reviewing the order and evaluating next steps. He added, "Economic recovery and the safety of our residents is our top priority. More to come soon." 

Also on Gov. Abbott's executive order, all counties where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% of hospital capacity can increase capacity to 75% at all businesses other than bars on Oct. 14.