Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that people in Texas can start getting haircuts this Friday. Texas hair salons, barbershops, nail/tanning salons can reopen May 8. The new order does not require salons to open.
There will be one customer per stylist, people can only wait inside if they maintain social distancing and appointment scheduling is encouraged to avoid walk-ins congregating. Stylists and customers will be encouraged to wear masks, Abbott said. “This allows these types of businesses to open up, but it doesn’t require them to do so,” Abbott said. “Every owner of every salon should use their own best judgement.”
Gyms and exercise facilities will be allowed to open May 18 at 25 percent capacity. All equipment must be disinfected after each use and customers must use gloves and maintain six-feet social distancing. Showers and locker rooms will remain closed. Equipment brought into the gym, like personal yoga mats, must be disinfected before and after use.
There’s still no date set to reopen bars in the state, but Abbott is encouraging feedback from bar owners. “We are still working on safe ways to establish safe distancing at bars,” Abbott said. Abbott also clarified the 25 percent capacity limits do not apply to outdoor seating at restaurants, but the social distancing rules of six feet do. The capacity limit does remain in effect for indoor seating.
Governor Abbott also talked about plans for high school and college graduations, but many North Texas schools already have their own plans in place that would meet state guidelines.
Office buildings will also be able to reopen on May 18 up to 25 percent capacity if employees can work within social distancing guidelines.
Abbott clarified that weddings are part of the ceremonies involved in rules for religious services, funerals, burials and memorials. They can occur, but all have limited seating arrangements, like alternating rows and social distanced seating. Abbott said health officials encouraged at-risk people to watch remotely. Also, any wedding receptions should abide by the same capacity rules as restaurants.
“We know that as we begin reopening, there could be flare-ups. I want you to know, we are ready for that,” Gov. Abbott said. What he called, “Surge Response Teams” will deal with any flare-ups. Texas is testing around 19,000 people a day. He said help by the National Guard is a big reason for the increase. “One thing I look at every single day is what is the percentage rate of the people tested who test positive,” said Gov. Abbott. He said more than 95% of the people who are tested, test negative.
“So if you were to look at the total number of new positive tests, you would see that’s an all-time high and the total number of active cases at an all-time high, but the hospitalization rate “has remained steady or is steadily declining.” What this tells us, the Governor said, is Texas can fully manage COVID-19. Texas ranks third in the U.S. in most recoveries from COVID-19, Gov. Abbott said. “Texans have been following guidelines about following safe practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he said, explaining Texans are social distancing and wearing masks.
Another press conference is planned for next week, as we get updates, we will post them here.