Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is allowing restaurants, malls, movie theaters, and retailers to serve customers inside stores starting May 1, one of the widest reopenings in the nation from a near-total lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year. Fears of the virus spreading widely and infecting so many that healthcare systems would be overwhelmed prompted the vast majority of governors to impose harsh quarantines that have Americans largely confined at home.
Abbott forced so-called nonessential businesses to close, shut down schools, curbed travel, and mandated quarantine for people entering from other states.
The Republican was one of the first to announce some stores would be able to reopen on April 17.
The governor said April 27 that a variety of sectors can reopen with a limit on the number of people inside stores. The occupancy will be limited to 25 percent.
Museums and libraries can also open their doors with restrictions.
“We’re not just going to open up and hope for the best. Instead, we will put measures in place that will help businesses open while also containing the virus and keeping Texas safe,” Abbott said at a press conference on Monday
He’s letting his stay at home order expire on April 30.
Depending on the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, other businesses can start to reopen and retailers and some other stores can increase the number of people inside to 50 percent of normal capacity.
Phase two could start as soon as May 18.
The CCP virus infection rate in Texas has declined for 17 days and hospitals across the state have plenty of open beds, state officials said.
Texas has 25,297 confirmed CCP virus cases but 11,170 of those patients have recovered, according to the state Department of Health Services. Another 1,563 people are currently hospitalized and 663 people have died with COVID-19. Over 75 percent of them were 65 or older.
Officials are now working on plans for how to reopen another set of businesses, which include gyms, bars, barbershops, and salons.
The reopening dates for those businesses haven’t been outlined.
Abbott cited medical experts advising them not to reopen yet. He hopes they can start back up in mid-May.
The state will also analyze how to open summer camps.
Abbott said state officials are in touch with federal officials, including Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator of the White House Task Force.