Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner ordered all bars and clubs to close for the next 15 days at least, starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. All restaurants are asked to suspend dine-in and only provide take-out, delivery or drive-thru options for diners.
Houston is the fourth big city to take these steps and Hidalgo, along with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner agreed that these steps were necessary to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the area.
“None of these decisions that we are having to make are easy decisions,” Turner said in the Monday press conference. “They’re simply not easy. Especially, we recognize that when you’re making a decision, you’re impacting people’s livelihood and possibly people could be laid off or lose their jobs as a result of the decisions made.”
Turner urged other local officials in surrounding counties to follow suit as he said “our boundaries are very porous,” and people travel from one place to another.
“Even if you are healthy, you are young, you can still pass (COVID-19) on to somebody who may die from it,” Hidalgo said in an interview with KPRC 2. “All the spiking cases could overwhelm our health care system.”
The Houston Health Department also broadened its social distancing guidelines Monday. The department now recommends all Houstonians stay away from groups of 10 or more people where there will be close contact with others.
“While most healthy people will recover from COVID-19, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of serious health consequences,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. “If everyone avoids large gatherings, we will reduce the likelihood of young, healthy people giving their grandparents or immune-compromised friends a virus from which they may not recover.”