Bars in Cooke County can admit up to 50% of their occupancy limit starting Friday, May 22, state Rep. Drew Springer said this week in an email to constituents.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced he’d relax restrictions on bars, wineries and breweries, which had been shut down since mid-March under state orders meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Information posted to the governor’s website indicates bars can operate at up to 25% of capacity and will have to remove or block off bar stools so customers can’t sit or order at the bar itself.

Springer, R-Muenster, said in his email that a previous waiver allowing rural counties with little spread of the coronavirus to open up more would also apply to this phase of the reopening.

Previously, Abbott had permitted counties with five or fewer active cases of the coronavirus to file a waiver in order to open permitted businesses up to 50% occupancy instead of 25%. Members of the Cooke County Commissioners’ Court unanimously agreed April 29 to do so to allow 50% occupancy in those establishments.

That process only has to be done once, Springer explained. “This means that bars — including wine tasting rooms, craft breweries and similar businesses — may open at 50% occupancy” in Cooke and other counties that obtained the waiver.

“Still, like restaurants, these occupancy limits do not apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distancing among parties,” he added.

Restrictions were also relaxed on businesses in office buildings as well as child care facilities, rodeos, youth camps and professional sports. With the waiver in effect, rodeos may admit up to 50% occupancy, Springer said in the email.

On Monday, Abbott reiterated that he still advised adults over the age of 60 “to continue to stay at home if at all possible.”

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