Within hours of Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement that most county judges may allow bars to operate at 50 percent capacity effective October 14, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (D) indicated on social media that the county’s bars would indeed not be reopening.
“Regarding opening bars in Dallas County: I will not file to open them at this time. Below is the current guidance from the Public Health Committee and [the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department],” Jenkins tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. “We are in orange but our numbers are increasing (Badl) (sic). I will listen to everyone but will follow the science.”
Jenkins has been a proponent of strict COVID-19 restrictions since March. He was calling for a statewide shelter-in-place mandate as late as June, and forestalled the possibility of Dallas hosting the Republican National Convention.
The county judge also supported a resolution backing Democratic Judge Eric Moye, who jailed salon owner Shelley Luther for opening her business against Jenkins’ coronavirus rules.
Luther is now a candidate for Texas Senate, competing in a runoff against Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster).
Jenkins criticized Abbott on Monday after the governor suggested on social media that he would be relaxing COVID-19 rules.
“Unfortunately, we are now seeing an increase in daily new cases and hospitalizations in North Texas after the Governor increased occupancy limits in opened business,” Jenkins said.
Abbott’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been criticized by both the left and the right.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear Texas will never open with [Abbott] as Governor,” Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) said Wednesday on social media. “He has the same worldview as [California Gov. Gavin Newsome (D)], that Government has the ability to eliminate Covid through bureaucratic limitations on business & mask mandates, while ignoring harm.”
The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance also condemned Abbott’s announcement in a statement.
“We are extremely shocked by the announcement made today. When other Governors around the country, like Ron DeSantis, continue to lead and set a course for economic and social recovery for their states, today our Governor punted,” the statement read. “Texas bars and nightclubs are now the official scapegoat of the pandemic.”
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.