Texas Governor Announces Move to Phase II of “Reopen Texas” Plans

19 May 2020 Coronavirus Resource Center Blog
Authors: Craig P. Chick Amy Beard Arthur Val Perkins

On May 18, 2020, Governor Abbott announced Texas is ready to move into Phase II of his campaign to “reopen Texas,” but cautioned that the most vulnerable populations should continue to stay home when possible. The following businesses/organizations must follow the guidelines found here.

In laying out the executive order, Governor Abbott stated:

  • Texas has an ample supply of PPE and has distributed more than one million masks per day.
  • Averaging 25,000 tests per day.
  • Nursing homes, jails, and meat packing plants are the state’s current hotspots.
  • One key metric is the positivity rate. Texas has seen a downward trajectory in the positivity rate since April 21. The seven-day average was 13.86% on April 17; on May 17, it was 4.97%.
  • State is not co-mingling antibody testing numbers with overall testing numbers.
  • State needs 4,000 contact tracers. Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is working on perfecting this process to access the best data.

Highlights of Executive Order GA-23 include:

  • Effective immediately, childcare services other than youth camps may operate.
  • Also effective immediately, May 18, other personal service businesses may reopen, provided, social distancing is maintained. This includes:
    • Massage establishments
    • Personal-care and beauty services
      • Tattoo studios
      • Piercing studios
      • Hair removal services
      • Hair loss treatment and growth services
  • All office buildings may reopen. Employers can operate with 10 employees or 25% of workforce capacity.
  • Starting at 12:01 a.m. on May 22, 2020, for all Texas counties except Deaf Smith, El Paso, Randall, Moore and Potter:
    • Restaurants can increase capacity to 50%.
      • Interactive games and video arcades must remain closed.
    • The following establishments can operate at 25% capacity:
      • Bars, wine tasting rooms, craft beer venues.
      • Bowling alleys, bingo halls, aquariums, natural caverns, skating rinks.
      • Rodeos and equestrian events.
      • Drive-in concerts that generally require spectators to remain in their vehicles.
      • Amateur sporting events at which the general public is not allowed, and for which all participants have tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the event, are quarantined for the duration of the event and are temperature checked and monitored for symptoms daily.
  • Starting May 29, 2020, all services that were restored for other Texas counties will apply for Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Randall and Potter counties.
  • Starting May 31, 2020, for all Texas counties the following may open:
    • Professional sports can open without spectators physically on premises.
      • Basketball
      • Baseball
      • Softball
      • Golf
      • Tennis
      • Football
      • Car racing
    • Youth camps and all summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps for youths.
    • Youth sports programs may begin practices, but games and competitions may not begin until June 15, 2020.

The executive order, as it pertains to hair and nail salons, is retroactive to April 2, 2020, to the extent necessary to supersede and nullify the existence of any prior or existing local executive order, the violation of which could form the basis for confinement in jail. Additionally, all existing state executive orders relating to COVID-19 are amended to eliminate confinement in jail as an available penalty for violating the order.

View Governor Abbott’s press release regarding this announcement. For a guide to all of Governor Abbott’s Coronavirus executive orders, click here. View Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas

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