With Hospitalizations Down, Dallas, Tarrant, Collin & Denton County Restaurants’ Capacities Tick Back Up To 75 Capacity For The First Time Since December.
Restaurants, retailers and other businesses throughout North Texas are now OK to re-expand their indoor capacities from 50 percent to 75 percent, representatives with Dallas County confirm.
However, bars in Dallas County without food-service licenses are to remain closed, confirms Lauren Trimble, chief of staff for Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Unlike most businesses, bar capacities are determined on a county level, not a regional basis as designated by the state government.
After initially getting the OK to operate at 75 percent capacity in September, regional restaurants have been forced to operate at 50 percent of their stated indoor capacities since December, after a seven-straight-day stretch of confirmed COVID-19 cases accounting for more than 15 percent of all hospital capacities in Texas Trauma Service Area E triggered an automatic downgrade.
On February 16, Dallas County officials confirmed Texas Trauma Service Area E crossed a threshold in which COVID-19-related hospitalizations accounted for less than 15 percent of all occupancy for seven straight days. By mandate, reaching this milestone triggers the opposite reaction: restaurants, retailers and other businesses in this region, which includes Dallas County and much of the surrounding area, can now return to operations at 75 percent capacity.
This marks the first time in 2021 in which such establishments have been able to operate at up to 75 percent capacity. Business owners across the state have been faced with a roller coaster of capacity allowances since local officials began first implementing regulations relating to the pandemic into place last March.
No word yet on when — or at what capacity — Dallas County will eventually allow bars to re-open. After all, declining case numbers or not, it’s still a pandemic out there.
But area restaurateurs are certainly encouraged by this positive return to a semblance of normalcy just the same.
“We’ve never pushed you to come in and eat,” wrote Jon Alexis, owner of the popular establishments TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market & Grill and Malibu Poke, in a Facebook status update today in which he rejoiced over the news.
“Personally, I didn’t eat out for a long time. But today with our most vulnerable getting vaxxed and the stats pointing in the right direction, for the first time in a long time, I feel good saying ‘COME DINE IN OUR DINING ROOMS!’ (We’re still being super-nerds about it behind the scenes to ensure your safety.)”