Governor Abbott just concluded a press conference in Austin where he made several announcements regarding the reopening of the Texas economy. The Executive Order, called Open Texas, is attached for your review. Here are the basic highlights of the order:
— The statewide “stay at home order” expires on Thursday, April 30th and Abbott will let that order expire
— Members of vulnerable populations, such as those over 65 years of age or with a serious pre existing health condition must continue to remain at home, when possible
— Starting Friday, May 1st: (Phase I of the plan)
— All retail stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and movie theaters can reopen. However, they can operate at no more than 25% capacity
— Museums and libraries may also reopen, also at a 25% capacity. Interactive exhibits must still remain closed
— All sole proprietorships such as law offices and other small firms may return to their place of business
— Church and other religious services can expand their activities, but must still use social distancing
— Outdoor sports such as golf, tennis, soccer, etc may now resume, as long as there are not more than four participants in one match/game
— Doctors, dentists, and any other licensed health care professionals may return to their place of business, but can run at no more than 50% capacity
— In counties that have 5 or fewer confirmed Covid 19 cases, the business may run at 50% capacity
— Businesses with closer personal contact such as barbershops, hair and nail salons, gyms, and bars may not reopen on May 1st. Further evaluation is needed to determine when it is safe to open those businesses.
— Starting on Monday, May 18th (Phase II of the plan) — businesses may expand their capacity to 50%, provided there is continued success in the management of Covid 19 cases.
— Increasing testing is also addressed in detail in the report. There are now 300 testing sites throughout the state, that are listed on the state website: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/
— The state is testing 15,000-20,000 a day and hopes to increase that number to 30,000 a day in the coming weeks
One other interesting thing of note. The face mask requirement that just went into effect for Harris County has received a great deal of attention. When asked by a member of the media if the state was going to require face masks, Abbott said no, but he did encourage the wearing of face masks when anyone leaves their house and knows there will be interaction with other people. Furthermore, he went on to say that in regard to face masks, his order superseded local orders, and that no local government could impose a fine or penalty of any kind for not wearing face masks.
The full report can be read here. Please let us know if you have any questions, or would like to discuss any of the information attached.