County officials say businesses can open at 50% occupancy Friday as long as COVID cases remain low.



By SARA VANDEN BERGE

There is more good news for local businesses preparing to reopen on Friday.

Erath County officials met Wednesday to discuss a plan to petition the state to allow local businesses to re-open at 50 percent capacity, rather than 25 percent.

During a press conference on Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said counties with less than five active cases of COVID-19 will be allowed to re-open with less restrictions.

That includes restaurants, retailers, movie theaters, museums and libraries.

Erath County currently has two active cases of coronavirus.

“We think the guidance is clear enough that we can go ahead and do this,” County Judge Alfonso Campos said of easing restrictions.

Commissioner Joe Brown said, he too, believes the state will agree.

“There is an 8-step threshold you have to file with the state to qualify,” Brown said. “I am 99.9 percent sure we are going to make it. We meet all the criteria.”

And that is welcome news to smaller restaurants like Caam’s, which said earlier this week that opening at 25 percent occupancy didn’t make economic sense.

Owner Kayleigh Caamano told BTS News that if the standard is changed to 50 percent, Caam’s will reopen soon.

“It’s too late for us to reopen this weekend, but we will certainly be ready soon,” she said.

Campos said he expects restrictions on hair and nail salons and barber shops to ease in phase 2, which is expected to occur in mid-May.

“I hope that comes to fruition,” Campos said. “We had a rough two weeks, but since then we have been good and things have slowed down.

“The residents did what they were supposed to do.”

Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Beneath the Surface News. sara@beneaththesurfacenews.com