Abbott launches phase 3 to re-open Texas businesses

Talk 1370 Newsroom
June 03, 2020 - 4:53 pm
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

File photo/Office of the Governor

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Texas is moving into the third phase of re-opening the state's economy in the wake of COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday.

Under Abbott's new executive order, which goes into effect immediately, all businesses in Texas, with very limited exceptions, will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity. Business that were previously able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to any capacity limits.

All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Department of State Health Services.

According to the state, more than 45% of the new COVID-19 cases reported between May 26 and June 2 came from jails or prisons, meat packing plants, and nursing homes. As of Wednesday, there are 1,487 Texans hospitalized, with 20,679 active cases. 45,858 Texans are estimated to have recovered from the disease, officials said.

"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 statement. "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. As we begin Phase III, I ask all Texans and Texas businesses to continue following the standard health protocols and to heed the guidance of our state and federal officials who continue to closely monitor COVID-19. If we remain vigilant, we will continue to mitigate the spread of this virus, protect public health, and get more Texans back to work and their daily activities."

Here is a summary of the changes under Abbott's new order:

  • Effective June 3 (immediately):
    • All businesses currently operating at 25% capacity can expand their occupancy to 50% with certain exceptions.
    • Bars and similar establishments may increase their capacity to 50% as long as patrons are seated.
    • Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases may open at 50% capacity. 
    • Restaurants may expand their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.  
  • Effective June 12:
    • Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75%
    • Counties with 10 or less active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75%. Counties that fit this category but have not previously filed an attestation with DSHS will need to do so.
  • Effective June 19:
    • Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity.

Provisions have also been made for outdoor gatherings, such as potential upcoming Fourth of July celebrations, calling for local officials and public health officials to collaborate on safe standards.

Individuals are encouraged to continue to wear appropriate face coverings, not be in groups of greater than 10 when possible, and avoid nursing homes, state-supported living centers, and long-term-care facilities. Those over the age of 65 are encouraged to stay home as much as possible.

More details can be found on the state's Open Texas website.

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