In a press conference held on Tuesday, May 5 Gov. Abbott announced that he will be continuing his Open Texas plan and issuing an Executive Order to expand openings of certain businesses and activities, including hair salons, office buildings, and gyms. The move comes earlier than many expected, just five days after Gov. Abbott allowed the partial reopening of restaurants, retail stores, malls and movie theaters statewide. The Governor also announced new guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on graduation ceremonies and the creation of Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare ups in Texas.
Effective May 8:
- Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and tanning salons will be able to reopen Friday, May 8 with at least 6 feet between workstations.
- Effective May 8, indoor swimming pools may operate up to 25% of the total listed occupancy of the swimming pool facility and outdoor swimming pools may operate up to 25% of the normal operating limits as determined by the swimming pool operator. Local public swimming pools may so operate only if permitted by the local government.
On May 18, several other businesses will be allowed to reopen under certain conditions:
- Gyms can reopen at 25%. Facilities will need to disinfect equipment between use and clients will need to wear gloves and continue practicing social distancing. Showers and locker rooms at gyms must remain closed.
- Nonessential manufacturers may resume with a 25% occupancy capacity and keep workers 6 feet apart.
- Office buildings may open with a 25% capacity or 5 or less workers, whichever is greater. The workers must stay 6 feet apart.
The state will also allow some graduation events that include videos of students being recognized in person, vehicle ceremonies and outdoor events in all counties starting June 1.
Weddings can proceed with restrictions on capacity at indoor-venues for ceremonies and receptions.
Bars will remain closed for now.
Governor Abbot’s Open Texas Checklists
Governor Abbott announced a long-awaited update to our state-wide shelter in place orders. Gov. Abbott explained this afternoon, the rate of infection in Texas has fallen for 17 days straight. His executive order mandating a stay at home policy will EXPIRE as scheduled on April 30th, and the Texas economy will open up in three different phases. Here is the overview:
Abbott announced three phases of Texas’s reopening – Phase 1 will begin May 1st, Phase 2 will begin in the middle of May, and Phase 3 will begin at some later point
In Phase 1, almost every business in Texas is authorized to reopen at 25% capacity. We are all excited about heading back out into the world, but please be patient as businesses adjust their practices to these new restrictions. Businesses that can open include:
- Movie theaters
- Sole proprietors
- Tennis courts and golf courses (sports of four people or less)
- ALL licensed healthcare professionals and licensed hospitals
Businesses that CANNOT open right now include:
In Phase 2, occupancy will be expanded to 50%, as long as the data supports it. Gyms, bars, and barbershops will likely be opened at this time.
In Phase 3, presumably most if not all restrictions will be lifted
This has been a long, difficult lockdown for all of us. Many have been sick, and tragically some have died from this horrible virus. We knew we were going to have to make immense sacrifices to flatten the curve and protect our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. And our efforts have been largely successful - as Gov. Abbott explained, the rate of infection in Texas has fallen for 17 days straight. We aren’t completely out of the woods, but our community has made it through the worst, and we did it together.
Now we can begin to shift the focus to recovery and rebuilding the economy.
It’s time to go back to living our lives. Some parts of the economy have probably changed permanently. This disease must continue to be taken seriously by practicing good hygiene and distancing recommendations.
Governor Abbbots Open Texas Report