With his Executive Order GA-23 set to expire at midnight last night, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-26 yesterday, implementing “Phase III” of his planned “reopening” of the state from coronavirus closings and business interruption.
Under Phase III, effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions. Businesses that previously have been able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”).
Highlights of the Order:
Effective June 3, 2020:
All businesses currently operating at 25% capacity can expand their occupancy to 50% with certain exceptions.
Bars and similar establishments may increase their capacity to 50% as long as patrons are seated.
Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases may open at 50% capacity.
Restaurants may expand their maximum table size from six to 10 persons.
Effective June 12, 2020:
Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75%.
Counties with 10 or less active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75%. Counties that fit this category but have not previously filed an attestation with DSHS will need to do so.
Effective June 19, 2020:
Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity.
Special provisions have been made for outdoor gatherings, such as Fourth of July celebrations, but it is imperative that local officials and public health officials collaborate on safe standards.
All businesses should continue to follow the minimum standard health protocols from DSHS.
Reminders for Going out in Public:
Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings.
People should not be in groups greater than 10 when possible.
People over the age of 65 are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.
People are still asked to avoid nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities.
There are numerous additional provisions and exemptions in the Order, including exempting churches and local government operations from all occupancy limitations. Summaries and explanations of all the GA-26 provisions can be found here.
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