Hidalgo County Judge increases capacity limits due to drop in hospitalizations

Local News

A dimmed open sign at a San Marcos bar. Hays County bars got the green light from the county judge to reopen this week.

Harlingen, Texas (KVEO) — Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez approved an order for establishments to reopen to 50% and others to 75%, according to a press release.

The new order was issued after the Texas Department of Health and Human Services notified Judge Cortez that due to a drop in hospitalizations the county was able to increase capacity.

“The combination of vaccinations and adherence to facial coverings and social distancing has lowered our hospitalization numbers,” said Judge Cortez. “Although this is a step in the right direction, I urge our county residents to remain vigilant and continue to uphold the safety measures set forth by medical experts.”

The order goes into effect on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 12:01 a.m., and will remain until rescinded by the County Judge.

The new orders include:

— Bars may increase capacity to 50%.
— Business entities that are providing goods and services directly to the public must adhere to Minimum Standard Health Protocols.
— Elective surgeries and procedures may resume.
— Outdoor gathering more than ten people are prohibited unless the Mayor of the city or the County Judge approves it.
— Household gathering shall not include more than 10 people.
— Public schools may operate under the minimum standard health protocols issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). 

Establishments that may open up to 75% of total listed occupancy include:

  • Swimming pools.
  • Water parks.
  • Museums and libraries.
  •  Zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities.
  • Amusement parks.
  • Professional, collegiate, and similar sporting events.
  • Rodeos and equestrian events.
  • Religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship.
  • Local government operations, including county and municipal government operations relating to licensing (marriage licenses), permitting, recordation, document-filing services, or as determined by the local government (including but not limited to public foreclosure sales).
  • Child-care services.
  • Youth camps, including all summer camps, and other daytime and overnight camps for youth.
  • Recreational sports programs for youths and adults.
  • Drive-in-concerts, movies, or similar events, under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing, that generally require spectators to remain in their vehicles, and that minimize in-person contact between people.

The following establishments must operate with at least six feet of social distancing between workstations:

— Cosmetology salons, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade.
— Massage establishments and other facilities where licensed massage therapists or other persons.
— Other personal-care and beauty services such as tanning salons, tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services, and hair loss treatment and growth services.

The order also includes the following directives:

  • Every person in Hidalgo County should wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth when in a public place wherever social distancing is not feasible.
  • Everyone over the age of 65, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible and maintain appropriate physical distance from any member of the household who has been out of the residence in the last 14 days.

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