Visit San Antonio: Legislative Affairs, October 2020
Early in October, President Donald Trump announced that all negotiations with Congress regarding another COVID-19 relief package had ended, only to restart negotiations later in the month. It is unclear if any further positive activity will take place for additional federal relief. If additional federal assistance does come out of Washington, D.C., it most likely will come after the Nov. 3 General Elections.
We remain engaged with our federal delegation and the U.S. Travel Association. As new information becomes available, we will provide you with additional updates.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-32, providing for the reopening of bars and similar establishments at up to 50% capacity in conjunction with county officials, effective Oct. 14. Specifically, for Trauma Service Areas (TSAs) where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% of hospital capacity, a county judge, in coordination with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC), may authorize the opening of bars and similar establishments at 50% occupancy. If a county judge authorizes the opening of these establishments, certain protocols must be followed. As recommended by trade associations representing bars, dance floors at bars and similar establishments must remain closed. Consistent with protocols for restaurants, all patrons must be seated while eating or drinking (with limited exceptions for sampling at breweries, distilleries and wineries), and must wear masks when they are not seated at a table. Additionally, tables must be limited to six individuals or less and all establishments must follow specific curfew guidelines.
Comprehensive information concerning GA-32 can be found on the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas webpage. Complete information concerning the State of Texas’ COVID-19 response can be found at the following weblinks:
· Coronavirus Resources and Response
· Texas Department of State Health Services
· Texas Division of Emergency Management
On Oct. 28, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development will host a small business webinar focusing on developing effective e-commerce and social media strategies. If interested, participation in the Webinar is free; however, there is a maximum capacity of 10,000 attendees. We have provided the link to register for your convenience.
The VSA Government Relations Team continues to work with the Texas Travel Alliance (TTA). TTA has developed a text notification “advocacy system” for alerts, notifications and “calls to action” for the coming State Legislative Session that begins in January 2021. TTA anticipates that there may be limited access to legislators and their staff during the coming Regular and any Special Legislative Sessions. The text system is a way for you to help get information out to your legislators.
Please help advocate for our industry and take a few minutes and text to 40649, type in Travel, and then hit send. You will get a confirmation text with the opportunity to fill out your name, address, etc. We suggest that you fill in your home address because it will be used to send your specific state Representative and/or Senator information about your support of the Travel Industry.
On Oct. 15, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued Executive Order NW-16, allowing the reopening of bars in Bexar County at 50% of their listed indoor capacity beginning on Oct. 20. Following approval of Bexar County’s request to opt-in, bars and similar establishments that hold a permit from the TABC and are not restaurants as defined in paragraph No. 6 of GA-32, may offer on-premises services only as described by NW-16.
Bars and similar establishments must comply with the “Minimum Standard Health Protocols” developed by the Department of State Health Services and the City of San Antonio’s Health Department, which is a condition for counties opting-in. There must be coordination with the TABC and adoption of the recommendations of the COVID-19 Community Response Coalition. A full list of the health standards can be found on page 5 of the Judge’s new Executive Order.