Texas Gov. Abbott reveals new rules and phases for opening up Texas economy

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is allowing his stay at home order to expire on Thursday April 30, 2020 and that is allowing some businesses to reopen on Friday, May 1stas part of his Open Texas plan. During his press conference Monday afternoon, Abbott said restaurants, malls, retail stores and movie theaters can reopen on May 1 but will be limited to 25% capacity. The governor’s new executive order does not require businesses to open, but allows them to open if they feel it is safe to do so. The state has published a guide, Open Texas, which outlines how businesses can open safely with standards for how businesses should handle employees and customers. He said social distancing will remain very important.  “Because of your efforts, the COVID-19 rate has been on the decline for 17 days,” said Gov. Abbott.  “Our hospital capacity has remained abundant. At the same time we cannot forget those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.  Our hearts remain with their loved ones.  Every life lost is a tragedy.” 

Gov. Abbott said not all businesses could open at once and that bars, salons, gyms and barbershops are still ordered to remain closed. Abbott said he hoped they would be able to resume operations by the middle of May, provided COVID-19 outbreak is kept in check. They could open in Phase 2. Phase 2 could begin as early as May 18th. That would expand occupancy to 50%.  “We need to see two weeks of data to confirm no flare up of COVID-19, he said.”  Gov. Abbott also stated that  an increase in positive Covid-19 cases following reopening will not be viewed as a negative since more test mean more possibilities of testing positive. The state will look at hospitalization and death rates in regards to Covid-9 cases.   Gov. Abbott said museums and libraries are also allowed to open Friday but that interactive stations and exhibits must remain closed for now.

Gov. Abbott said Texas has the third most recoveries of COVID-19 in the country.  “Many have lost jobs, many have lost businesses.  Many are struggling to pay their bills, I want Texans to know, they are not alone in this fight. We must come together to rebuild the lives and livelihoods of Texans.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick stated that face mask and face coverings are recommended but not required. Gov Abbott also stated that there will be no fines or penalties for those not covering their face.
Last week, the state began the process of re-opening businesses by allowing several retailers to offer “retail-to-go” services. Those businesses that adopt the method will be able to sell items online and allow customers to come to the store for curbside pickup. In addition, Gov. Abbott announced an easing of restrictions on elective surgeries last week.

For a full list of information and checklist visit  https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas
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