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Judge Lina Hidalgo Asks the Public to Report Restaurants Violating Reduced Capacity Rules

Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo launched a form that allows Houstonians to report restaurants not adhering to the 25 percent capacity order

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Restaurant dining rooms welcomed customers in Houston this weekend, after more than six weeks of being shuttered after the “stay at home, work safe” order issued by Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to open back up on May 1, restaurants needed to abide by the 25 percent occupancy limit outlined in Texas governor Greg Abbott’s executive order that allowed dining rooms to get back in business.

Now Judge Hidalgo is asking the public to report any restaurants that violate Gov. Abbott’s reopening rules.

Her tweet yesterday reads: “See a restaurant at full capacity? Businesses open that shouldn’t be? Help us save lives. If you see violations of Governor Abbott’s order, please report them...”

She then linked to an online form called “ReOpen Texas Phase I Violations” with options where users can check boxes like “More than 25% occupancy in facility” or “Bars not selling food open and operating” and record the name and address of the business and the date and time users observed the violation.

Many Houston restaurants are going the extra mile to reorganize their dining rooms before reopening, including steps like moving tables six feet apart or taping down lines on the floor to indicate the proper space for social distancing lines. Meanwhile, Hedwig Village restaurant Federal American Grill kicked off a social media firestorm at the end of April by reopening its doors ahead of schedule with 30% of normal capacity seating in the dining room, defying the county’s “stay at home, work safe” order.