McAllen order closes bars, restaurants; restricts social gathering size

An order issued by McAllen Mayor Jim Darling on Thursday that goes into effect at 5 p.m. will essentially prohibit eating or drinking inside an establishment and significantly restrict crowd sizes at social venues and other gatherings.

The order restricts restaurants to curbside, to-go and drive thru food service, while suspending conditional use permits for businesses designated by bars until further notice.

The order also bars social or community gatherings of 10 or more.

Movie theaters and churches will limit attendance to less than 10 people, the document stated, who all must be a minimum of 6 feet apart from each other.

The order also includes sanitation protocols for hotels, short-term rentals and gas stations, a prohibition on reusable glassware and self-service drink dispensers, and a ban on straws and tabletop condiment stations.

“A violation of this Order is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500,” it stated.

The new rules are in addition to emergency orders issued by Gov. Abbott Thursday.

The order says it follows CDC guidelines on social distancing measures intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.