Governor: Retail, Malls, Restaurants, Movie Theaters Can Reopen May 1

Texas restaurants, retailers, malls and movie theaters are being allowed to open under certain conditions later this week. Governor Greg Abbott announced today the businesses will be able to open at 25% occupancy on Friday, May 1. He noted it was up to individual business owners to decide if they wanted to let customers inside. Museums and libraries can also re-open on Friday but interactive areas have to stay closed. Abbott says it's not safe enough to open barbershops, hair salons, bars, and gyms and is hoping to get them back open by mid-May. The governor noted his order supersedes all local orders. Several counties have issued orders expanding stay at home measures until mid-May.

"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 Governor 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 1:

Restaurants, retailers, malls and movie theaters can reopen with 25% occupancy on May 1.

All museums and libraries may open under the same 25% occupancy limitation, but interactive areas of museums must remain closed. State libraries and museums will open by May 1, and local public museums and libraries may reopen only if permitted by the local government. Single-person offices may reopen as well.

Churches and places of worship remain open. Outdoor sports are allowed to resume so long as no more than four participants are playing together at one time. Certain social distancing practices must also be followed. Local government operations, including county and municipal government operations relating to permitting, recordation, and document-filing services, may reopen as determined by the local government.

Public swimming pools, bars, gyms, cosmetology salons, massage establishments, interactive amusement venues, such as bowling alleys and video arcades, and tattoo and piercing studios will remain closed through Phase I. Nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities must remain closed to visitors unless to provide critical assistance.

Phase 2:

Restaurants, retailers, malls and movie theaters can reopen with 50% occupancy on May 18 (if the state doesn't have a surge and meets acceptable case levels.)

While there is currently no date for bars, barbershops, hair salons and gyms to reopen, the Governor is hopeful they could reopen under social distancing guidelines in mid-May.

Phase 3:

Further expansion of business at a date to be decided assuming no surge takes place.

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