AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Some drastic moves happening in the capital city of Texas where a critical situation of rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases had lead officials to put new limits on dine-in and drink service at restaurants and bars.
The move in Austin is being made to tamp down on social gatherings and parties over New Year’s.
Under the order, any venues serving food and drinks will not be closed entirely, but will be limited to drive-thru, curbside, delivery or take-out service from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night from Thursday until Sunday morning.
Mayor Steve Adler said health officials want the public to avoid large social gatherings to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, as local and state officials grapple with record numbers of hospitalizations and new cases even as vaccines begin to roll out.
“We are now facing our most dangerous surge prospects,” Adler said Wednesday.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, both Republicans, quickly condemned the restrictions, tweeting that they violate previous statewide orders by the governor. The Texas Restaurant Association also called the restrictions punitive to business owners.
Texas has previously sued local governments that attempted strict shutdown orders.
Adler said city attorneys were consulted on the Austin order. Travis County Judge Andy Brown called it the “most narrowly tailored thing we could think of.”
Texas hit record highs of more than 11,700 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, and more than 26,900 newly reported cases on Tuesday. The state has reported more than 26,000 deaths.
Abbott and state health officials have urged vaccine providers to move faster in distributing shots. As of Tuesday, state health officials reported that more than 600,000 doses had been received but only about 163,000 had been given out.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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