On September 17, Governor Abbott issued Executive Orders expanding occupancy levels at 75% for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries, and re-authorizing elective surgeries for a majority of the state of Texas beginning September 21. Read Executive Order 30 here. In coordination with Governor Abbott's order, County Judge Bill Gravell has signed a new order effective Friday, September 18. This order continues to permit Williamson County residents to have outdoor gatherings in excess of 10 people in the unincorporated areas of Williamson County provided the gatherings otherwise comply with Governor Greg Abbott’s new Executive Order GA-30. A copy of the order can be found here. This order also follows Governor Abbott’s Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face-covering over nose and mouth in public spaces.
“Williamson County residents have shown that they can practice public health mitigation measures, reducing the spread of COVID-19, and be able to safely gather outdoors. Our daily new case levels are declining, indicating that safety measures such as wearing face coverings and washing our hands often are working. We must continue those precautions so that we can continue to reopen Texas,” said County Judge Bill Gravell.
Governor Abbott issued new visitation guidance for eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice effective Thursday, September 24 while maintaining health and safety standards to mitigate COVID-19. Read Executive Order 31 here.
In addition, the Governor implemented the use of reliable, data driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help guide the state’s ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 and expand occupancy for businesses and services. This metric focuses on areas with high hospitalizations, referring to any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15%, until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15% or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.
Three of the 22 TSAs (S-Victoria, T-Laredo, and V-Lower Rio Grande Valley) must remain at 50% occupancy and continue postponing elective surgeries until the hospitalization metric requirements are met. These three TSAs contain the following counties: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Victoria, Jim Hogg, Webb, Zapata, Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy.