Texas governor gives OK for bars to begin reopening

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Michael Neff, co-owner of the Cottonmouth Club, works on a computer while sitting at the bar Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Houston. Neff closed his downtown bar because of concerns within the industry as the number COVID-19 case continues to rise in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By PAUL J. WEBER

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says bars can begin reopening in Texas for the first time since June. But the order limits bars to resume business at 50% capacity beginning next week, and only in counties that grant permission. The state this week surpassed 16,000 virus deaths and is closing in on 800,000 confirmed cases. Last month, Abbott began relaxing some coronavirus restrictions for the first time since a massive summer outbreak hammered Texas. Although caseloads have dramatically dropped since August, hospitalizations in the state have remained flat at roughly 3,200 patients for two weeks.

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