Dave Moore, Staff Writer
Texas begins opening for business for retail stores, restaurants, malls, and movie theaters on Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said today.
However, those businesses may only operate at 25% of their maximum occupying capacity, and there is no requirement to open if businesses are not ready to do so.
Abbott made the announcement in a press conference Monday afternoon, saying that his earlier executive order, which expires at the end of April, had done the job in reducing the spread of the virus.
Here are six takeaways from the press conference:
- If the first phase of relaxing public health restrictions works, a second phase will begin as early as May 18, which will allow those businesses to use 50 percent of their maximum occupancy capacity.
If the state continues to see positive trends in COVID-19 numbers, the governor said other businesses, such as barber shops, hair salons, bars, and gyms, may open as soon as mid-May.
- Museums and libraries can open in phase one, with occupancy restricted to 25 percent, sans access to screens and other interactive objects that are touched by patrons.
- Individuals age 65 or older should remain in place, unless employers take specific actions to protect the health of workers in that age group.
- Non-contact outdoor sports that do not involve more than four participants are permitted in phase one.
- Doctors, nurses, dentists, and other licensed health care professionals are allowed to reopen their practices; hospitals must preserve 15 percent of their capacity for COVID-19 cases.
Additional information on the new executive order is available at gov.texas.gov/opentexas.