Gov. Abbott Expands Business Openings, Announces Surge Response Teams
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that he would expand the reopening of certain businesses and activities. Beginning Friday, May 8, retailers such as barbershops, nail salons, tanning salons and similar businesses may reopen provided they maintain six-foot distances between workstations. Public swimming pools may also reopen this Friday. Beginning Monday, May 18, office buildings and manufacturing plants that produce nonessential goods may also restart their operations at 25 percent of their normal occupancies. Abbott issued orders last week allowing retailers, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues to resume business under limited capacity. Officials also announced the formation of surge response teams comprising members of the Texas Military Department, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force and BCFS Health and Human Services. Surge response teams will serve nursing homes, prisons, packing plants and other facilities that experience flare-ups of COVID-19 by providing personal protective equipment, testing supplies, onsite staffing and assessment assistance. These teams will also work with local officials to establish health and social distancing standards to contain these outbreaks.