Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday announced Phase One of his administration's plan to reopen Texas businesses and get our economy moving again.

Under Executive Order GA-18, restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, and malls will be permitted to open their doors on Friday, May 1. However, they will be required to limit occupancy to 25% of that listed at their establishment, and mall food court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays must remain closed.

Museums and libraries may reopen as well, but will also be expected to limit occupancy to 25%. State museums and libraries will all reopen on May 1, the governor's plan states, but local facilities will be subject to any rules issued by their local government if they are still in effect.

Places of worship remain open under Phase One.

There are certain businesses and facilities that will remain closed through Phase One:

  • Salons
  • Bars
  • Gyms
  • Public Pools
  • Massage Businesses
  • Interactive Amusement Venues (Bowling Alleys, Arcades)
  • Tattoo and Piercing Studios

Under the phase beginning May 1, outdoor sports may resume as long as no more than four players are participating at one time.

Single-person offices may reopen as well, along with certain local government offices.

You can read the details of Phase One here.

Gov. Abbott's plan includes changes affecting healthcare workers and travelers.

Under Executive Order GA-19:

All licensed health care professionals shall be limited in their practice by, and must comply with, any emergency rules promulgated by their respective licensing agencies dictating minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID-19 disaster.

Every hospital licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health & Safety Code shall reserve at least 15% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, as determined by HHSC.

Under Executive Order GA-20, the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for travelers from Louisiana will be eliminated.

However, a 14-day quarantine requirement will remain in effect for travelers from California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Miami.

The Governor's office has put together an easy to read report outlining the Phase One protocols, guidance, and recommendations titled 'Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas'.

Hopefully this is a first healthy step in getting Texas back to being one of the best economies on the planet. However, I sincerely hope everyone will keep health and safety top of mind.

Remember: COVID-19 won't magically go away on May 1. We all need to do what we can to keep our fellow Texans safe, especially those most vulnerable to the devastating and potentially fatal effects of the virus. Keep washing and sanitizing your hands, wearing a mask in public, and keeping your distance as much as possible to help slow the spread of the disease so we don't see a huge surge of new cases.

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