Pink cocktails from last year's Cocktails for Cinema held at Dor?ol Distilling Co. Photo by by Adam Rocha.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Monday said he's ready to sign an order that would allow area bars to reopen as early as Thursday. Credit: Adam Rocha for the San Antonio Report

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Monday said he’s ready to sign an order that would allow area bars to reopen as early as Thursday. The move comes two weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott gave county judges the green light to reopen local bars at their discretion.

Wolff had been hesitant to reopen bars for fear of undermining Bexar County’s coronavirus recovery, but on Monday he noted the numbers “look pretty darn good” at a 5.8 percent positivity rate, which was unchanged from a week ago.

Wolff said he met with Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Regional Enforcement Supervisor Mark Menn on Monday to go over the mandates Bexar County has put in place, which include 50 percent occupancy, mandatory masks, and social distancing. Wolff said those mandates would be enforced and fines would be levied, noting that not only would law enforcement be watching, but patrons and bystanders also have been helpful in pointing out rule-breakers.

“It’s important to remember that if things really do turn bad for us or go the other way, we have the option to opt out of it,” Wolff said.

Despite allowing bars to reopen, Wolff said he did not anticipate many doing so because of financial restrictions. He said as of Monday, just 10 bars had reached out to his office to say they were opening and most were smaller businesses.

San Antonio saw its two-week average decline week over week, which put the overall risk in the low category. However, with a 5.8 percent positivity rate, school reopenings remain at a moderate level, meaning the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s recommendation is to prioritize in-school learning for special needs students and those without adequate internet access. Several school districts have been gradually bringing students back to campus, but Mayor Ron Nirenberg stressed that classrooms still should be 25 percent capacity and that learning should be done in pods of no more than six.

Bexar County reported 98 new cases on Monday, making the seven-day average 159. There are 193 people hospitalized, including 23 new admissions, with 84 in intensive care and 36 on ventilators.

Graham is the Managing Editor of the Rivard Report.