Gov. Abbott announces businesses can reopen with some restrictions, stay-at-home order ends April 30 (copy)

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference March 18 at Arlington's Office of Emergency Management. Abbott announced that certain retail businesses could reopen as soon as May 1.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced that hair salons may reopen Friday and gyms can reopen on May 18 with social distancing guidelines in place.

Abbott made the announcement during a Tuesday press conference. This comes after Abbott outlined his plan to reopen Texas in phases starting with retail stores, restaurants, malls and movie theaters on April 27.

In addition to hair salons, barbershops and cosmetology, nail and tanning salons can reopen Friday as well.

Limitations include allowing only one customer at a time and requiring waiting customers to be a 6-feet apart. Abbott said individuals may wait for service only if the 6-foot distance from one another is possible, otherwise, customers should wait outside or in their vehicle.

In addition to that, a 6-foot distance must be maintained between workstations, he said.

One of the concerns associated with reopening hair salons and similar types of businesses was the close proximity needed to perform the service, Abbott said.

“The only safe way that you can go about providing this service while ensuring that we’re doing everything possible to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 would be for both the person providing the service and the customer wearing face masks,” he said.

Gyms and exercise facilities may reopen as long as they open at 25% capacity, Abbott said. Showers and locker rooms will need to remain closed during this opening phase.

All equipment must be disinfected after each use, customers must wear gloves and maintain a 6-foot social distance from one another when inside the gym, he said.

Additionally, office buildings can reopen May 18 with five employees or 25% of the workforce while maintaining appropriate social distancing. Businesses that are not yet ready to reopen may remain closed, Abbott said.

Abbott added that the state has looked at reopening other businesses such as bars; however, the state has not been able to provide guidelines for those businesses to safely reopen.

As the state makes decisions to reopen businesses, Abbott said surge response teams will monitor any possible flare-ups. Counties may also impose stricter standards if needed.

The surge response teams can provide more personal protective equipment and testing supplies if needed, he said. They will also work with local officials to contain the flare-ups.

The reopening of additional businesses is possible because of the increased testing in the state and decreased positive COVID-19 tests and hospitalizations rates, Abbott said. It’s also possible because of continued social distancing practices.

As of Tuesday, Texas reports having 15,672 active COVID-19 cases and 16,791 recoveries, according to the Texas Health and Human Services COVID-19 tracker.


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