Gov. Greg Abbott bans large gatherings in Texas; here are the exceptions in Bexar County

Amusement parks, museums, zoo, youth camps allowed to stay open

Visitors at the San Antonio Zoo. (File) (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and local officials have clamped down on social congregations due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, certain large gathering spaces will remain open for now.

Under Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s ban of social gatherings of 100 people or more — orders that preceded Abbott’s new rule on Friday — there are more than 10 exemptions, from child care to leisure.

Amusement parks such as Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which reopened last week, and SeaWorld are allowed to remain open, as well as waterparks, swimming pools, carnivals, rodeos and equestrian events.

Those businesses are allowed to operate at 50% capacity, as previously outlined in Abbott’s reopening efforts

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Other summer destinations like zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, museums and libraries are also allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

Additional exemptions include:

  • Recreational sports programs for both youths and adults.
  • Religious services.
  • Local government operations.
  • Child-care services.
  • Youth camps.
  • Professional, collegiate or similar sporting events.
  • Any services listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in its guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.

The governor’s order also says schools may conduct graduation ceremonies consistent with the health protocols issued by the Texas Education Agency.

The bans in large gatherings were set in place this week due to an alarming increase in cases across the state.

On Friday, Abbott ordered bars and river outfitters to close and scaled back dining capacity at restaurants. Texas reported more than 17,000 confirmed new cases in the past three days, with a record high of nearly 6,000 on Thursday.

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Nirenberg and Wolff reported 638 new cases on Thursday, the single largest daily increase reported so far. The additional cases bring Bexar County’s tally to 8,452 cases, roughly 60% of which are still active.

Read Nirenberg’s eighth public health declaration, which includes addendums regarding outdoor gatherings below:

About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.