Hidalgo County Judge decides not to allow bars to reopen immediately


Edinburg, Texas (KVEO)—Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez announced Tuesday afternoon he will not allow bars to reopen immediately.

“After consulting with local health care experts who cited Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that bars remain a high-risk venue for the spread of COVID-19, as well as speaking with the mayors of the county’s 22 municipalities Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez has decided it is premature to allow bars in the county to reopen.” said county officials in a statement.

“I am convinced that reopening bars this week – as Governor Greg Abbott is allowing with local consent – is too risky,” Judge Cortez said. “We are making great strides in convincing more and more people to change their habits by wearing facial coverings and avoiding crowds. This is having a positive effect on slowing down the rate of infection locally.”

Governor Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that bars in Texas can reopen for in-person service next week, as long as their county governments choose to allow it.

Judge Cortez also mentioned he has decided to wait to assess what effect, if any, other reopening measures may have locally.

These measures include allowing covered businesses to increase its customer capacity to 75 percent of its listed occupancy – up from 50 percent.

“We continue to see double digit increases in our daily death count and triple digit increases in new positive cases,” Judge Cortez said. “We must bring these numbers down.”

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