Texas Governor Greg Abbott is pausing the state's reopening as the number of new coronavirus cases continues to rise. The state has reported more than 126,000 cases of COVID-19, and more than 2,200 people have died.
Texas entered the most recent phase of its reopening on June 3. Under the current rules, bars, restaurants, malls, and other businesses are allowed to open but with limited capacity. Restaurants can operate at 75% capacity while bars and most other businesses can operate at 50% capacity.
Abbott said that he does not plan to close down any businesses that have reopened.
"The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses," he said in a press release.
He said it is vital for people to follow social distancing guidelines and advised everybody to wear a mask when they are in public.
"The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be, and the more we can open up Texas for business," he said.
Earlier in the day, he enacted a ban on elective surgery to free up hospital beds for patients dealing with COVID-19. While Abbott has said that hospitals in the state can handle the influx of cases, some are starting to deal with overcrowding.
The total number of hospitalizations in the state has climbed to 4,739 and has more than tripled since Memorial Day. According to the Texas Tribune, the state had 1,320 available intensive care unit beds and nearly 13,000 available hospital beds, though there are regional disparities with available beds.
The Texas Medical Center, located in Houston, announced that all of the beds in its intensive care unit were filled as of Thursday (June 25). Officials Travis and Harris County are working on plans to move COVID-19 patients to temporary hospital facilities to help deal with any overcrowding.
Abbott has not revealed the next phases of Texas' reopening and did not say how long he expects the pause to last.
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