COVID-19 hospitalizations trigger bar closures, reduced capacities


A rise in hospitalizations in the Trauma Service Area P – which includes Gonzales County – is forcing local restaurants and businesses to reduce capacities to 50% and bars to close completely, under Executive Order GA-32.

These reductions and closures became effective Dec. 26, the seventh consecutive day in which Trauma Service Area P COVID-19 hospitalizations rose above 15% of hospital capacity.

Department of State Health Services Data also shows that hospitalizations of lab-confirmed COVID-19 in Trauma Service Area P in proportion to the total hospital capacity is 21.51% as of Wednesday, Jan. 6. A week before, Wednesday, Dec. 30, it was 18.24%.

The executive order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, GA-32, which allows bars to remain open at 50% operation capacity, and other businesses at 75% operation capacity states that hospitalizations must be below 15% capacity to do so. If hospitalizations exceed 15% for seven consecutive days, counties within that TSA will have to reduce operation capacities, according to the order. TSA P no longer meets the requirements for opening under the order as described, having maintained hospitalizations above 15% capacity for 17 days as of Wednesday, Jan. 6.

Under this order, businesses which were operating at a maximum of 75% capacity are now limited to 50%. Bars and other establishments which make more than 51% of gross receipts from the sale of alcohol may no longer offer on-premises services, the order states.

There were 68 new COVID-19 cases reported in Gonzales County from Wednesday, Dec. 30 to Tuesday, Jan. 5, bringing the total active cases to 75. In total, there have been 1,698 confirmed cases, according to daily updates from County Judge Patrick C. Davis. Of these, 1,620 are considered recovered with 10 deaths reported. However, DSHS data shows there have been 25 COVID-19 deaths reported in the county.

Gonzales Independent School District is currently reporting a total of 10 active cases, with seven among students. Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District is reporting six active cases, and Waelder Independent School District has not yet returned from its extended winter break.

During weeks two and three of DSHS vaccine allocations, Gonzales clinics were allowed 700 Moderna vaccine doses. However, no Gonzales County clinics made the list for week four. As of Wednesday, Jan. 6, 258 people had received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. No one has been fully vaccinated yet, according to DSHS data. Previous correspondence with Gonzales Healthcare Systems indicated that vaccine distribution would be focused among healthcare staff and first responders before moving on to citizens age 65 and older.

Local Update

At a swearing-in ceremony held Jan. 1 at the Gonzales County Courthouse, Judge Davis shared an update regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Davis stated that he and Emergency Management Coordinator Jimmy Harless had had COVID-19.

“We're in the process of the vaccines starting to roll into the county and we are working diligently on trying to figure out how we're going to come up with a way to get this done at this time,” Davis said. “So I just wanted to let y'all know that's in the process. The bad thing was that my Emergency (Management) Coordinator and myself both had came down with the COVID just for just a little bit. But we are diligently working with— I talked to EMS and Dr. Hisey at the hospital, so just stay tuned and keep reading the stuff on my Facebook page, the EMS page and probably the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) page which is here in Gonzales, and the paper.”