Bars ordered to close on Thursday in Bexar County ‘until further notice’

‘Significant increase’ in COVID-19 cases cited as reason for reclosure of bars

An empty bar (WDIV)

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – Bexar County bars are being ordered to close again as of 11 p.m. Thursday.

A new executive order from Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff states that all bars and similar establishments that hold a TABC permit, and are not defined as a restaurant, must close until further notice.

The order cites a “significant increase in the rate of (COVID-19) infection in Bexar County as determined by responsible health professionals” as the reasoning behind the decision to reclose bars.

Wolff wrote a letter to TABC officials Tuesday to notify them that he is choosing to opt Bexar County out of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that allows county judges to determine whether bars and similar establishments in their jurisdiction can reopen.

Texas bars were originally closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and allowed to reopen at 25% capacity on May 22. Bar owners got the go-ahead to increase capacity to 50% on June 3, and then on June 26, Abbott issued an executive order to reclose all bars with roughly 3 hours notice.

Then on Oct. 14, bars were allowed to reopen with certain stipulations if the county judge in the jurisdiction where the bar is located approved it. To qualify, however, counties had to have less than 15% of hospital capacity taken up by COVID-19 patients. In Bexar County, bars were allowed to reopen Oct. 20.

Most of the more than 3,000 bars in Bexar County reopened as restaurants while the order to keep bars closed remained in effect, according to a previous KSAT report.

Related: ‘Completely blindsided’: Bar industry workers share their experience after second closing of Texas bars

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.