Floating The River

Tubers float the Comal River in New Braunfels on Sunday afternoon. With COVID-19 spiking in Texas, some cities have moved to close river parks and other areas where crowds have made the spread of the disease easier.

Rafting and tubing businesses, as well as bars, must close under an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Abbott issued the order as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19, and the number of hospitalizations has increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action.

Comal County has also seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.

On Thursday, county health officials reported 33 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 for a total of 504 since the pandemic began.

Comal County’s positivity rate — the percentage of tests with a positive result – was 8.47% on Thursday, down from 8.65% on Wednesday and up from 5.90% one week ago.

State officials said the targeted, measured directives in the order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.

Under the order, bars that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at noon.

These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including alcoholic beverages.

Restaurants can remain open for dine-in service, but at capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday.

Also, outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments.

“As I said from the start if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a statement. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health."

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