SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Gov. Greg Abbott says statewide Stay Home orders will be allowed to expire April 30.
Retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls will be allowed to reopen May first as part of Phase 1 of the governor’s plan to reopen businesses. However, there will be some restrictions. Those establishments will be limited to 25 percent occupancy to allow for social distancing.
His executive order states that people shall avoid visiting bars, gyms, public swimming pools, interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys and video arcades, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, or cosmetology salons. The use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and beverages continue through the duration of this order.
“This is a proven business strategy. It’s exactly the type of practice used by H-E-B and Home Depot,” said Abbott.
He said if Phase 1 works while containing COVID-19, Phase 2 will extend the occupancy to 50 percent.
“The extent to which this order opens up businesses in Texas supersedes all local orders,” said Abbott.
He also emphasized that this is “permission to open,” not a requirement. If business owners don’t feel comfortable reopening as the coronavirus pandemic continues, they can decide to keep their establishments closed.
All licensed health care professionals will be allowed to return to work. Churches and places of worship will be allowed to expand their capacity as of May 1, but they’re urged to practice social distancing. Outdoor sports are allowed as long as no more than 4 people are involved at one time, such as golf or tennis.
He says the state will work to open its libraries and museums by May 1 or shortly thereafter. Some libraries and museums are operated privately or by universities or local governments and it’s up to them to decide whether they can open. The governor says his decisions were driven by advice from doctors.
Bars , barbershops, hair salons and gyms remain closed. They could be allowed to reopen in mid-May.
Phase 2 will be announced May 18.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick reiterated the need to continue social distancing and wearing masks in public to contain the spread of COVID-19. Governor Abbott says while the state recommends wearing masks, it is not and order.
“It’s not a mandate , and we make clear that no jurisdiction can impose any type of penalty or fine for anyone not wearing a mask,” said Abbott. “Everyone should be encouraged, but by my executive order, it supersedes local orders with regard to any type of fine or penalty for anyone not wearing a mask.”