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Visits possible to nursing homes
From The News-Courier staff—
AUSTIN—Gov. Greg Abbott announced last Thursday that he would allow businesses to expand capacity in much of the state, citing a decline in coronavirus hospitalizations that he credited to Texans taking the pandemic seriously.
The order allowed businesses operating at 50% capacity to move to 75% starting Monday. Sept. 21. That includes restaurants, retail, office buildings, manufacturing, gyms, libraries and museums.
While Abbott did say that the state was looking for ways to reopen bars, they will remain closed under the order, as he noted that they continue to be spreading locations for the virus.
Abbott also allowed hospitals in much of the state to resume elective surgeries, effective that same day. Three regions are not included: the Rio Grande Valley and the Laredo and Victoria areas, where Abbott said the number of Texans being treated in hospitals remains too high.
Beginning Thursday, Sept. 24, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will allow each resident to designate up to two “essential caregivers” who can visit provided they’ve tested negative in the previous 14 days and have been trained in proper use of personal protective equipment.
However, this would only occur at facilities that meet certain standards like having no outbreak of the virus, according to Abbott.
General visitors will also be allowed inside for interactions with residents without physical contact at facilities that have installed plexiglass safety barriers.
Abbott’s statewide mask order remains in effect for counties who have experienced more than 20 active cases. So does the ban on outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people unless given prior approval by a major or county judge.