UPDATE (2:30 P.M.) – Gov. Abbott announced at a press conference on Monday that he will allow his stay-at-home order to expire on Thursday night and also announced his next round of re-openings the Texas economy.
A full outline can be found by clicking HERE.
Abbott announced that the following would be allowed to re-open on Friday, May 1, but only filled to 25 percent capacity:
- Retail stores
- Movie theaters
- Museums and libraries (hands-on exhibits must remain closed)
- All licensed healthcare professionals
Small counties that have five or fewer cases are allowed to open up to 50% capacity for those businesses unless there is a flare-up.
The governor said that it is up to the owners and operators of the facilities on whether or not they want to open or if they choose to wait longer.
Gyms, bars, nail salons, and barbershops were not included in the order allowing for limited re-opening. Gov. Abbot said these would be included in future phases.
Nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities are required to remain closed to visitors unless to provide critical assistance.
Outdoor sports are allowed if the group is smaller than four and if it is played at a safe distance (i.e. golf, tennis).
The openings will focus on allowing others to return to work while also stressing social distancing. Abbott emphasized the importance of protecting vulnerable populations and said that his decision was based on advice from health experts and doctors.
If there is not a flare-up of new cases over the next two weeks, Abbott will announce new openings on May 18.
The coronavirus has forced many people out of work with more than 1.5 million residents filing for unemployment benefits.
Additionally, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order to eliminate the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for individuals traveling from Louisiana.
The following quarantines are still in place for travelers visiting from the following places: California, Connectivut, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Atlanta, Georgia, Chicago, illinois, Detroit, Michigan, and Miami, Florida.
AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Greg Abbott will be announcing the second phase of his plan to re-open Texas at 2:30 p.m. Monday afternoon from the Texas capitol.
Phase One went into effect last week with the reopening of state parks (with social distancing restrictions), the restart of elective medical procedures, and retail stores being allowed to offer “to-go” service.
He has been advised by two councils made up of business and medical leaders from around the state on what his next steps could be.
Abbott has been under pressure from both sides of the political aisle. Conservatives, in Texas and around the country, have been calling for a full re-opening of the economy. Many have used a rallying cry from President Trump that “the cure can’t be worse than the virus.”
In East Texas, one of the chief voices behind this push has been state Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), who has said on multiple occasions with the Texas Freedom Caucus that Abbott is moving too slow.
On the opposite flank, Democrats have urged to listen to health officials who have said that the virus is not going to go away when the calendar flips to May. There are worries that this could lead to a deadlier second wave if social distancing is still not practiced.
Abbott’s stay-at-home order expires at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday and many county officials have been asking that he let it expire so decisions can be made at the local level. This was echoed by Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran at a press conference last week.
The two-term governor has said that a third announcement will be coming in May, but has not released a date as of this writing.
Monday’s announcement will be aired on both KETK and FOX 51 as well as streamed on our website.