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Businesses In Central Texas Can Raise Occupancy Limits As COVID-19 Hospitalization Rates Decline

Customers line up to order at Home Slice Pizza on South Congress.
Michael Minasi
Customers line up to order at Home Slice Pizza on South Congress.

Central Texas businesses will once again be allowed to raise their occupancy limits from 50% to 75%, as restrictions triggered by COVID-19 hospitalization rates have expired.

An order from Gov. Greg Abbott requires counties in a certain hospital region to limit capacity at businesses and to prohibit elective surgeries when coronavirus patients account for 15% of hospitalizations in the area for seven days in a row. The Austin-area hospital region, made up of 11 counties, hit that threshold about three weeks ago.

Since then COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Travis County have been trending downward, according to Austin Public Health officials. The additional restrictions in Abbott’s order automatically lift when a hospital region stays below the 15% threshold for seven consecutive days. The hospital region in Central Texas, which includes Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell, Lee, Fayette, Blanco, Burnet, Llano and San Saba counties, accomplished that Saturday.

Roughly 12% of those hospitalized in Central Texas on Friday were sick with the coronavirus, marking the lowest rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the area since at least Jan. 23.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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