• January 28, 2022
 City, County amend Local Emergency Directives; Restaurants to operate in accordance with State Orders

City, County amend Local Emergency Directives; Restaurants to operate in accordance with State Orders

Saturday evening, officials with the City of El Paso and the County Judge’s office announced that, in accordance with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order No. 32 (GA-32).

City Public Health and Emergency officials have amended the City’s Sixth Local Emergency Directive, while the County Judge amends Stay Home Order No. 15

The City Directive is amended, removing the prior restriction on restaurant dine-in hours. Under the restriction, restaurants were required to end dine-in service at 10 p.m., but were able to continue take-out and curbside/pick-up service.

“We have seen a downward trend in hospitalizations and active cases; however, the virus continues to be very active in our community, particularly during the recent holiday season so we cannot become complacent,” said City-County Local Health Authority, Dr. Hector Ocaranza.

“Testing continues to be an integral part of our pandemic response and we urge people who traveled or gathered during the holidays to get tested. We urge everyone to continue practicing current health and safety guidelines by wearing a face cover, washing your hands, watching your distance and staying home when possible; even if you are one of the few that have received the vaccine.”

While restaurants are now able to provide dine-in service past 10 p.m., Public Health officials remind restaurants to follow Gov. Abbott’s Order GA-32 and the City’s amended Sixth Local Emergency Directive.

The City’s Mitigation Taskforce will remain vigilant to ensure that restaurants and local businesses strictly adhere to all current state and local orders and directives.

Local businesses are currently allowed to operate at 50 percent occupancy as the current Trauma Service Area (TSA) rate, the level of hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 infection, is not below 15 percent, as established by GA-32. The TSA rate is currently 18.45 percent.

Additionally, according to GA-32, bars or similar establishments that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), and are not categorized as restaurants, must remain closed.

The entire Sixth Local Emergency Directive, which remains in full force and in effect, unless superseded by a conflicting provision or by state or federal law or order, can be found on EPStrong.org  under the Health Orders tab.

As for the county, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego amended the County’s Stay Home Order No. 15 to allow restaurants to operate in accordance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32.

El Paso County continues to experience COVID-19 positive cases and such County-wide Orders are intended to serve as an enforceable tool to reducing COVID-19 community spread. In large part due to such Orders, El Paso has seen a slight decrease in its 7-day average positivity rate from 14.46% on November 24, 2020 to 8.94% on January 2, 2020.

Friday night the Texas Supreme Court issued an order which temporarily stops Travis County and the City of Austin from imposing restrictions on dine-in service. Amendment 2 is intended to align with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32; all other provisions in County Judge Order No. 15, and Amendment 1 to Order No. 15 shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 10 (BUSINESS RESTRICTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES), Paragraph 11, be amended to read as follows:
  • All restaurant dine-in services, to include outdoor service, such as on a patio or similar seating area, are STRONGLY URGED AND RECOMMENDED to end in-person service at 10:00 p.m. After 10:00 p.m. restaurants are STRONGLY URGED AND RECOMMENDED to operate via take out and drive-thru only until 6:00 a.m. the following day. All restaurants are strongly encouraged and urged to offer only curbside or take-out services.
  • Except as amended herein, the November 24, 2020 County Judge Order No. 15 and First Amendment to County Judge Order No. 15 issued on December 16, 2020 shall otherwise remain in full force and effect unless superseded by a conflicting provision herein or by state or federal law or order.
  • This Second Amendment to Order No. 15 shall take effect immediately.
“Our community is finally on the right path; this is not the time to make changes that can lead to another spike,” said County Judge Samaniego. “We truly need to continue to adhere to the spirit of the County’s Order until mid- January when the numbers, not our assumptions, will determine the next steps. Despite the mixed messages and limitations by the State, I have faith in our business community that they will continue to do everything in their power to save El Paso lives. I urge members of the community to visit El Paso restaurants for take out and delivery only as we need to continue to support our restaurants. “
As a reminder, all other provisions in the order remain in effect including the standing curfew that will expire on Monday, January 4, 2021.
To view full order click here.

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