greg abbott

Photo credit: Governor Abbott Facebook

Today, Governor Greg Abbott announced he will let the Stay at Home order expire this Thursday night. As of Friday, May 1st, phase one of his Open Texas plan will begin.

What does the first phase entail? The Governor stated that restaurants, malls, movie theaters, libraries, museums, churches and retail stores can reopen. However, they will be limited to 25% capacity. As for libraries and museums, they must keep all hands-on exhibits closed. Food courts and play areas must remain closed in malls. Businesses not yet allowed to open include bars, gyms, public pools, cosmetology salons, bowling alleys, tattoo studies, and massage establishments.

“This strategic approach to opening the state of Texas prioritizes the health and safety of our communities and follows the guidelines laid out by our team of medical experts,” said Abbott. “Now more than ever, Texans must remain committed to safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we must continue to rely on doctors and data to provide us with the safest strategies to restore Texans’ livelihoods. We must also focus on protecting the most vulnerable Texans from exposure to COVID-19. If we remain focused on protecting the lives of our fellow Texans, we can continue to open the Lone Star State.”

Phase two has a target date of May 18th. However, Abbott said there must be two weeks of data to confirm that COVID-19 cases do not flare up. If phase two were to take effect, businesses would be able to increase capacity to 50%.

Governor Abbott did note that businesses did not have to reopen if they did not want to.

Lynn Miller