Gov. Abbott: Texas Retailers, Restaurants May Reopen Friday at Limited Capacities

by Taylor Williams

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released details on Monday of his Phase I plans to reopen the state’s economy, providing specific guidelines and protocols for an array or retail and civic services. Beginning Friday, May 1, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls may reopen, but with their capacities limited to 25 percent of their listed maximum occupancies. Texas counties that had five or fewer COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, April 30 may reopen these establishments at 50 percent of their original capacities. Food courts, play areas and interactive displays will remain closed in malls. Museums and libraries may reopen under the same guidelines, but public venues such as pools, bars, gyms, amusement parks, bowling alleys and video arcades will remain closed throughout Phase I. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities and similar senior living establishments must remain closed to visitors. In his announcement, the governor also said that Texas is launching a statewide testing and contact tracing program developed by the Texas Department of State Health Services and put forth new public health protocols for all Texans seeking to venture into these public arenas during Phase I. The initial phase of the reopening plan will expire no sooner than May 18, and the state’s stay-at-home order will not be extended past April 30. Forbes estimates the value of the Texas economy to be about $1.9 trillion in terms of annual GDP, which makes it the second-largest economy in the country and 10th-largest in the world.

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