McLennan County opts in to 50% bar capacity

Effective Wednesday Oct. 14, bars in McLennan County can reopen at 50% capacity inside. Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor

By Matthew Soderberg | News Editor

McLennan County bars will reopen Wednesday at 50% capacity for the first time since June 26. Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that county judges would have the opportunity to opt in to the new policy.

County Judge Scott Felton issued a statement announcing the opt in.

“I support independent businesspeople,” Felton said in the statement. “In addition, it is everyone’s individual responsibility to protect themselves and others by following the guidelines from the CDC and the State, and people should understand the risk they are taking upon themselves (and others) by going into social environments.”

Bars will be required to follow guidelines laid out in the order including: 6 feet of separation required between tables and groups of customers; serve only groups that are seated; keep dance floors closed.

Felton said he did not “make this decision lightly” and considered opinions from both sides, but it was his “assumption” that several bars in the area had already “converted to a TABC designation of bar/restaurant” and were already open.

After cases in McLennan County jumped in early September, they leveled off throughout the rest of the month around 8%. Last week marked a jump on Wednesday and Thursday as rates spiked to 14 and 15% for the first time in a month, and the R(t) (a measure of how many cases each positive case infects) rose to 1.16 meaning pandemic levels are increasing.