McLENNAN COUNTY, Texas – Businesses across five Central Texas counties may see fewer customers yet again.
On Sunday, the Texas Department of Health ordered McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone Counties to return to 50 percent capacity.
The department says the reason is due to high COVID-19 hospitalizations. Earlier this month, Governor Greg Abbott allowed businesses to expand from 50 to 75 percent capacity. This applied to businesses in areas where the COVID-19 hospitalization were less than 15 percent for seven consecutive days.
However – the five counties, also known as “Trauma Service Area M,” were hit with a letter saying their hospitalizations exceeded this number.
According to an email from McLennan County Commissioner Pat Miller, Trauma Service Area M had 64 COVID-19 hospitalizations out of 382 total hospitalized patients. This puts the area’s COVID-19 hospitalizations at 16.75 percent.
“We are feeling the numbers they have are not completely accurate. Sometimes reports and information just lags behind,” Miller said.
In Downtown Waco, business owners say the return to 50 percent capacity may have a negative impact.
“People will less come out because they think we have more COVID cases,” said Nalin Patel, Owner of Sub-Zero Ice Cream.
Mclennan County has ordered a review of the hospitalizations numbers from the Texas Department of Health. It is unknown when this will be completed.