COVID-19 Latest: Abbott Hints Bars Could Be Allowed To Reopen Soon

Oct 5, 2020

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Monday, Oct. 5. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Travis County sees 58 new cases and one more death

Austin Public Health reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Monday, up from 49 reported Sunday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 73. One more death was reported, bringing the county’s death total to 430.

There are now 78 people reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), three more than yesterday. APH reported a total of nine new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Monday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 13, up from 12.

The area is in stage 3 of APH’s risk-based guidelines. At this level, people are encouraged to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

Abbott hints bars could be reopening soon

Gov. Greg Abbott hinted Monday that bars could be allowed to reopen soon in Texas. In a tweet featuring an image of what appears to be clinking beer mugs, he said “Texans have continued to keep COVID under control” and he “will be announcing more openings soon.”

The governor closed bars in June as the state was seeing a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. While restaurants and other businesses have been allowed to stay open and expand their capacity limits, bars have been told to remain closed.

At a press conference last month, Abbott said bars are still seen as “COVID-spreading locations” and officials are looking for ways to allow them to safely reopen. In the meantime, many bars have innovated to meet the requirements that allow them to operate as restaurants.

Pflugerville testing site adjusts hours

Austin Public Health and the Texas Department of Emergency Management are changing the hours of Pflugerville’s coronavirus testing site at 103 North Railroad Ave. to allow for more flexibility.

The new schedule is Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Testing is also available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 6 p.m. Find more information here.

Revel offers free rides to Austin educators

As students return to in-person learning, the electric moped company Revel is offering free rides to teachers and other school staff in Austin. Educators can get up to 30 days of rides by signing up on Revel’s website.

"As the son of a special ed teacher, I've seen firsthand the impact that educators and school staff have on their communities,” Revel CEO and co-founder Frank Reig said in a statement. "Now, as they head back for a very different kind of school year, we're providing free Revel rides in hopes of making their commutes a little easier, and as our way of saying thank you."

People need to download the Revel app and be registered and approved users before taking advantage of the offer. 

Some San Marcos CISD students return to campus; Leander opens up

Today is the first day of on-campus instruction for some San Marcos CISD students who opted to come back to school buildings. The district will require students to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing and bring their own water bottle.

Leander ISD is in its final phase of reopening, allowing all students who selected on-campus learning to resume classes in-person today. The district began phasing students back to school buildings after Labor Day weekend, starting with students in special education and lower grade levels. Beginning today, fourth-, fifth- and 10th-graders are eligible to return.

RELATED | 'It's Been Really Stressful': Austin ISD Teachers Prepare For In-Person Classes

Hays CISD says families are reconsidering return to campus

About 46% of the student body — more than 9,000 students — returned to Hays CISD campuses last week, while the rest remained at home taking virtual classes. This was always the plan, but district spokesman Tim Savoy says one big thing the district saw last week was people reconsidering their choices.  

​“We asked whether they wanted to be virtual or in person for the first grading period," Savoy said, "and so people made their choices. We had about 150 who said they wanted to come in person, but decided they wanted to stay home. But we have 500 or more that said they wanted to be virtual [then] decide, 'Hey, I think we want to come in person.'"

Savoy says it’s a little more challenging to accommodate those who want to return to in-person instruction, because an architect for the district already calculated capacity for each classroom. But if there’s room in a student’s grade for them to come back to campus, the district is allowing it.

— Riane Roldan

152 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Travis County this past weekend

There were 152 new coronavirus cases reported in Austin-Travis County over the weekend. That moves the seven-day average of daily new cases to just over 78.

Thirteen more people were hospitalized Sunday because of the coronavirus. That drops the seven-day average of daily new hospital admissions to 12. The death toll from COVID-19 related complications is unchanged at 429.

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What's happening statewide? Check out special coverage from KERA for North Texas, Houston Public MediaTexas Public Radio in San Antonio and Marfa Public Radio.

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