Restaurants and other businesses in Bexar County will see their occupancy limits rolled back to 50 percent as the strain on local hospitals caused by the coronavirus continues to grow.

Local officials announced Monday that more than 15 percent of beds in local hospitals were occupied by coronavirus patients for a seventh straight day, triggering the reduction called for by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s health orders. The percentage must stay below 15 percent for seven consecutive days before occupancy limits revert to 75 percent.

“On Dec. 22, last week, our rate increased to 15.1 percent, and today marks the seventh day that that rate has remained above 15 percent,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a Monday briefing.

The 50-percent limit only applies to indoor dining, not to outdoor areas or events, “though social distancing and other protocols must be followed,” the governor’s orders state. It also doesn’t affect takeout services.

It also applies to gyms, retail locations, amusement parks, swimming pools, museums, libraries, and sporting events. Multiple entities are exempt from Abbott’s Oct. 7 order, including religious services, local governments, schools, and childcare services.

The reduced occupancy limits take effect Tuesday.

They came as hospitalizations in San Antonio topped 1,000 for the first time since late July. As of Monday, Bexar County had 1,079 coronavirus patients in local hospitals, with 122 new admissions.

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is the San Antonio Report's environment and energy reporter.