Governor Greg Abbott today expanded the list businesses and activities that may reopen, adding a definite date for salons and gyms to reopen. Swimming pool, wedding venue, office building and non-essential manufacturing business reopening dates were addressed. Four options for senior graduations and a creation of a new Surge Response Team Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare ups in Texas were announced at the Governor’s press conference.
“Texas is in a position to continue opening parts of our economy because of the efforts and determination of the people of Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “Over the past month, Texans have worked together to contain the spread of COVID-19 by following social distancing practices and staying at home whenever possible. As we move forward, I urge all Texans to continue following these social distancing guidelines and the health standards we have provided. With every Texan doing their part, we will contain COVID-19, we will unleash our entrepreneurs, and we will make it through this challenge together.”
Per the Governor’s announcement, wedding venues and services required to conduct weddings may immediately open. Weddings held indoors other than at a church, congregation, or house of worship must limit occupancy to 25 percent. Wedding reception services may also resume, but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy. These occupancy limits do not apply to the outdoor areas of a wedding reception or to outdoor wedding receptions.
Beginning May 8, cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade, may open, but all such salons, shops, and establishments must ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing between operating work stations. Tanning salons may also reopen under the same limitation.
Also starting May 8, swimming pools may open subject to certain limitations, including on their occupancy or operating levels.
Beginning May 18, office buildings may open with the greater of five or less individuals or 25 percent of the total office workforce. These individuals must maintain appropriate social distancing, the Governor stipulated.
Gyms, exercise facilities, and exercise classes may also open on May 18, but must operate at 25 percent occupancy. Locker rooms and shower facilities will remain closed, but restrooms may open.
Non-essential manufacturing services may also open on May 18 but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25 percent.
These newly opened services are subject to recommended minimum standard health protocols outlined by DSHS. Protocols are available on the Open Texas webpage and Protocols for individuals, businesses and groups may be found on the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas page.
During the press conference, Chief Kidd and Commissioner Wilson provided details on a newly formed Surge Response Teams. These teams are led by TDEM and HHSC and include representatives from the the Texas Military Department, DSHS, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force, and BCFS Health and Human Services.
Surge Response Teams will serve nursing homes, prisons, packing pants, and other facilities that experience flare ups of COVID-19 by providing personal protective equipment, testing supplies, onsite staffing, and assessment assistance. These teams will also work with local officials to establish health and social distancing standards to contain these flare ups. Several Surge Response Teams have already been deployed to locations across the state. Chief Kidd and Commissioner Wilson’s presentation is available here.
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath also provided new guidance on class of 2020 graduation ceremonies for Texas school districts. TEA offered four different options senior graduation celebrations, but left it of each district to determine which, if any, of the options is best serve their community.