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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Isn’t Going to Issue Any Shutdowns Despite COVID-19 Surge

An Austin restaurant is offering pre-Thanksgiving Tex-Mex smoked meats specials, plus more news

2020 World Series Game 1: Los Angeles Dodgers v. Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Gov. Abbott at a World Series game at Globe Life Field in Arlington back in October
Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

No Texas Shutdown
Greg Abbott isn’t going to issue any sort of shutdown or limiting of nonessential business services (which would’ve most likely included restaurants) right now, as reported by Texas Tribune, despite the quickly growing surge.

Texas is the first state in the country to break one million novel coronavirus cases as of this month, and the current positivity rate is 10.63 percent. The only way designated Trauma Service Areas can issue shutdowns/rollbacks is if the percentage of COVID-related hospital patients is more than 15 percent. Meanwhile, officials in El Paso — a city experiencing an overwhelming outbreak — have been trying to close down nonessential businesses in order to slow down the spread of the virus, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued to block the order.

Like most of the country, Gov. Abbott closed down nonessential businesses in March, and allowed certain places to reopen in May, including restaurant dining rooms and bars. But as Texas experienced its first surge of novel coronavirus cases in the summer, the governor closed bars, restricted restaurant dining capacity limits, and finally issued a statewide mask mandate in late June. These orders have since loosened: restaurants can operate at 75 percent indoor and full outdoor dining capacities, counties can allow bars to reopen in their areas, and most bars in the state have reopened as restaurants in accordance to loopholes issued by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Pre-Thanksgiving Tex-Mex Barbecue Specials
Belterra Village barbecue and Cajun restaurant the Switch is offering a week of daily Tex-Mex smoked meat specials ahead of Thanksgiving. Switch-Mex Week features smoked chicken relleno, brisket tamales, and smoked carnitas tacos, among other items. The dishes are available to-go and for dine-in. It runs from Wednesday, November 18 through Sunday, November 22.

Tracking Austin Restaurants Temporarily Closing Because of COVID-19

  • A staffer of East Sixth Mexican spot Suerte shared that they had COVID-19 symptoms. In response, the restaurant was temporarily closed on Monday and Tuesday, November 16 and 17, so that its staff can get tested and that they can sanitize the space. Its reopening plans aren’t known at this point.
  • A part-time staffer of North Loop bar Drink.Well shared that they were around someone with COVID-19 at their other job on Monday, November 16. Though the staffer tested negative, the bar is temporarily closed as of Tuesday, November 17 into Wednesday, November 18 so that the rest of the team can get tested, and that initial employee can quarantine and get a second test.
  • An employee of East Austin Hotel restaurant Sixth & Waller tested positive for the virus on Monday, November 16. The hotel shared that the staffer last worked on Saturday, November 14. The restaurant is temporarily closed until Friday, November 20 so that staffers who worked near the person can get tested and the space gets cleaned.

Tracking Austin Restaurants Reopening After COVID-19 Checks

  • Two staffers of Cedar Park spot Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Co. tested positive for the virus, as was shared on Sunday, November 15, and noted that the last time they were in the space was sometime in the middle of the previous week. The brewpub closed temporarily so its staffers could get tested and the space cleaned. After the rest of the staff tested positive, it quickly reopened on Monday, November 16.
  • Presumably preemptively, East Austin restaurant/bar/store Kinda Tropical closed on Sunday, November 15 so that its staff could test for the virus and has reopened as of Tuesday, November 17, because everyone was negative.

The Switch

166 Hargraves Street, , TX 78737 (512) 212-7211 Visit Website

Kinda Tropical

3501 East 7th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 373-8430 Visit Website

East Austin Hotel

1108 East 6th Street, , TX 78702 (737) 205-8888 Visit Website


207 East 53rd Street, , TX 78751 (512) 614-6683 Visit Website

Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Co

13010 W Parmer Ln Ste 800, Cedar Park, TX 78613 (512) 986-7038 Visit Website


1800 East 6th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 522-3031 Visit Website

Sixth and Waller

1108 East 6th Street, , TX 78702 (737) 205-8916 Visit Website