Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the next round of openings in his plan to relax pandemic restrictions and reopen the Texas economy. The new restrictions will take effect in phases over the next three weeks.
Effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity. This includes businesses that had previously been limited to 25% occupancy like bars and gyms as well as amusement parks and carnivals in counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. In addition, restaurants may expand their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.
“The people of Texas continue to prove that we can safely and responsibly open our state for business while containing COVID-19 and keeping our state safe,” Abbott said in a news release announcing his decision. “As anticipated, the new positive cases that we are seeing are largely the result of isolated hot spots in nursing homes, jails, and meat packing plants. Thanks to the effectiveness of our Surge Response Teams, we have the ability to contain those hot spots while opening up Texas for business.”
On June 12, restaurants and businesses in counties with 10 or fewer active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75%.
“We know restaurants and bars still have a long and uncertain path towards recovery, but today’s announcement brings us one step closer to our shared goal of rebuilding our economy while keeping employees and customers safe,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association.
Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity on June 19.
Hair and nail salons, barbershops, massage parlors and other personal care services where workstations are at least six feet apart are exempt from the 50% limitation.
In addition, 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.
Adherence to standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services is encouraged.
“On Monday, Texas saw its highest 7-day average of new cases since the pandemic began,” said State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie), who chairs the Texas House Democratic Caucus. “The data are clear — unfortunately, COVID-19 numbers are moving in the wrong direction right now and we need to tap the brakes, not step on the gas.”
There have been 68,271 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas, and 1,734 people have died.
The governor’s new executive order is on the Open Texas webpage.