The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in Texas has ordered that all bars in the Dallas-Fort Worth area be closed amid a surge of COVID 19 cases in the county.
Additionally, the Department of State Health Services has ordered that non-essential stores and restaurants in the area are operating at 50 percent capacity, and all licensed hospitals have been ordered to discontinue elective surgeries. According to KXAS-TV, the capacity limitation also applies to retail stores, office buildings, production facilities, gymnasiums, museums and libraries.
The capacity limitations came after the DSHS found that more than 15 percent of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients in the region, which is designated as one of 22 Trauma Service Areas (TSA) across the state. This percentage is approximately equivalent to more than 2,400 people.
On December 3, 15.6 percent of all hospital beds were occupied by COVID patients. The region’s restrictions will be eased after the number of hospital beds for COVID patients is below 15 percent for seven days.
The Dallas-Fort Worth TSA Region also includes the following counties: Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Hood, Hunt, Kaufman, Johnson, Navarro, Parker, Palo Pinto, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise. However, individual districts within the TSA may be exempted from the restrictions in their own COVID 19 cases if the number of cases is below a minimum threshold.
While the Dallas County reported 400 new cases daily toward the end of September, by the end of November the number had increased to 14,000 new cases per day, according to Dallas County Health and Social Services.
According to FOX 4, Dallas fire and police departments have committed to conducting enforcement checks on local businesses starting Friday. Approximately 2,800 bars across the state have begun serving food and reclassifying themselves as restaurants to continue operations during the state’s temporary closures, but not all bars are able to do so.
Usually the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year keep the bars and restaurants very busy, with the owners and staff depending on the additional income. This year, many will have difficulty staying afloat with reduced capacity, Jon Powell told FOX 4.
Overall, Dallas County in Texas is the district with the second highest number of COVID 19 cases and the third highest number of deaths. As of December 3, Dallas County had over 142,000 cases and 1,565 deaths.
As of December 3, Texas is the state with the highest total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, with over 1.29 million cases and 22,422 deaths. On December 2, the state reported the third highest number of new cases ever reported, with 17,713 cases on that day alone.
All hospital beds in the west Texas city of Lubbock are currently occupied, according to KCBD TV reporter Michael Cantu.
Washington Newsday contacted the DSHS to comment.