El Paso County Judge ‘No Bars For You!’
The rest of Texas is going to be able to go out for a cold one at their favorite watering holes next week but El Pasoans will still have to do their drinking at home or at a bar that has a restaurant in it. Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Wednesday that he would allow bars to re-open on October 14 but only at 50% capacity and only if they are in an area with low hospitalization rates from Covid-19.
Here's what will keep El Paso bars from opening next week - Counties have to give permission for bars to begin opening up next week but they have to make sure that the bars are enforcing the state's virus safety protocols, which gives Abbott political cover if County Judges decide that they don't want to reopen bars.
If a County Judge says that it's not safe to reopen, then bar owners are going to be angry at their local government and the governor gets to shrug his shoulders and say, "Well, jeepers, I wanted to let you guys reopen but your meanie County Judge said no."
Which is what El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego is going to do. He said that the El Paso hospitalization rate of 15% is on an upward trajectory. He said the people who are causing the majority of new positive cases of COVID-19 are the people would be going to bars - people in the age range of 20 - 30 years old.
Samaniego is standing his ground and trying to keep us safe, but it's unlikely that will make much difference in the numbers. The bars have been closed since June and our numbers are skyrocketing right now. Please wear your masks and stay home.