UPDATE (2:00 P.M.) – Gov. Abbott announced that he is ready to enact Phase 2 of his plan to re-open the state. His plan is recommended unanimously by the state’s medical team.
Bars are allowed to open on Friday, May 22 at 25% capacity. Childcare facilities may also open. Restaurants that were already open may increase to 50% capacity.
On May 31, youth sports camps, including overnight summer camps, can open as well. Many professional sports leagues, including baseball, golf, and football can also return to the state.
Fans will not be allowed to attend any of these events.
The governor presented a chart that over the past month, Texas’ positivity rate has dropped 66% across the state.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – As Texans around the state continue to debate the strategies for combatting the coronavirus and the best way to reopen businesses, Gov. Abbott is set to announce the next phase of his “safe and strategic reopening” plan.
The press conference will take place at 2 p.m. from the state capitol and will be streamed on the KETK website and Facebook page.
What is known before his announcement is that gyms will be allowed to reopen for the first time in two months, albeit at 25% capacity. There are also special social distancing and sanitation rules that will be in place.
Customers should wear gloves while using equipment. Locker rooms and showers will not yet be allowed for reopening Monday.
Abbott has stated multiple times this month his team is working with bar owners and health experts to identify safe ways to soon allow for bars to reopen. Some bars owners participated in soft reopenings over the weekend to prepare for the green light from the state.
Over the past several weeks, Abbott has faced near constant political pressure from both flanks. Conservatives have aired their grievances that he is moving too slow in allowing people to return to work while Democrats are worried that a quick return from precautions could cause a second wave, potentially as late as the fall.
“The Governor is in a tough situation,” explained James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. “There are some people who won’t be happy until there’s an unlimited opening of everything with no limit, and there are other people who will be unhappy if anything every opens up.”
A Nexstar poll found last week that many people are worried about a quick return, especially around large groups. 59% of Texans did not feel comfortable eating out in a restaurant while a near-whopping 70% would not want to go to the gym.
Despite the constant pressure, Abbott still has received high marks for his handling of the crisis. The same poll found that Abbott’s approval rating stands at 54%.