- The new Executive Order allows all retail stores, restaurants, malls, movie theaters, museums and libraries to open on May 1st. These businesses can only operate at up to 25% occupancy. In counties with five or fewer positive cases of COVID-19, the new Order allows these businesses to operate at up to 50% occupancy.
- Salons, barbershops, bars and gyms are to remain closed. The state is working diligently with doctors and infectious disease experts to determine the safest way to open these businesses by mid May.
- All licensed healthcare professionals are allowed to return to work with few restrictions. Licensed hospitals must reserve 15% capacity for treating patients with COVID-19.
- Governor Abbott’s Executive Order outlining social distancing guidelines will expire as scheduled on April 30th.
(ROCKWALL, TX — April 27, 2020) In a press conference today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his new Executive Order outlining a phased re-opening of business in the state.The Order supersedes all local orders within the state.
Phase I of the plan to re-open Texas will begin on May 1st with the opening of all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls across the state. The Order states that these businesses are allowed to open and operate at 25% capacity. Additionally, all museums and libraries will be allowed to open at 25% capacity, although they must close any interactive exhibits to visitors.
For counties with five or fewer positive cases of COVID-19, all of the above mentioned businesses will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
The Order also states that all healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses and dentists will be allowed to return to work beginning May 1st. All licensed hospitals are mandated to reserve 15% capacity for treating patients with COVID-19.
Governor Abbott’s new Executive Order also opens up outdoor sports, so long as there are no more than four people participating in the sport at a time. Examples of sports that can be conducted while adhering to the Order are golf and tennis.
The Order does not apply to salons, barbershops, bars and gyms, which shall remain closed. Governor Abbott said they are working to find a solution for these businesses to open safely, and hopes to have them opened in mid May.
Governor Abbott stated that essential businesses that have remained open under the current social distancing guidelines and local stay-at-home orders may continue to operate as they have been.
Governor Abbott said the next phase of the plan will allow the businesses referred to in the new Order to operate at 50% capacity. He hopes to implement Phase II on May 18th, but only if there are no flare-ups or outbreaks of COVID-19 once the new Executive Order takes effect.
Earlier this month, Governor Abbott extended his Executive Order outlining social distancing guidelines through the end of April. The order issued safe social distancing practices and asked folks to stay at home unless conducting essential business or activities like grocery shopping. Governor Abbott said today that he will let the order expire as scheduled on April 30th.
Governor Abbott applauded citizens for doing their due diligence in adhering to the social distancing guidelines, and that because of their efforts, the spread of COVID-19 in Texas has steadily declined for the past two weeks. He commended healthcare professionals across the state for their valiant efforts in treating patients with COVID-19, stating that Texas has the third most COVID-19 recoveries in the country.
“Those lives saved are priceless, but the price has been steep,” Governor Abbott said, referring to those who have lost their lives from the virus.
As far as the state’s three-phase COVID-19 testing and tracing efforts go, Governor Abbott said they have mobilized 1,157 state and local Contact Tracers, with an additional 1,000 Contact Tracers to be added in Phase II. During that phase, he said they will look to deploy a statewide Contact Tracer Application and a COVID-19 Contact Tracing Call Center.
Governor Abbott strongly suggested people continue to wear face masks while out conducting business and activities, but that the use of masks is not mandated in the new Executive Order.
To view Governor Abbott’s full plan to re-open Texas, visit gov.texas.gov/opentexas.
By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.
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