As Texas has started to re-open in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been wondering when hair and nail salons will be allowed to open shop. This week, they got their answer.

At news conference, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that hair salons, barber shops, nail places, cosmetology studios, and tanning salons where licensed employees work can reopen beginning at 12:01 AM Friday, May 8.

Under Abbott's latest proclamation, employees at these businesses are asked to keep at least six feet distance between operating work stations as a safety measure.

This is welcome news for people who could really use a haircut, but please make sure you're keeping the health and safety of yourself, your family, and salon employees top of mind. We're not out of the COVID-19 woods yet.

Swimming pools, both indoor and outdoor, are also permitted to re-open beginning May 8, so long as they only operate at 25% of normal listed occupancy and if their local government allows.

Gyms will be permitted to re-open beginning Monday, May 18 at 12:01 AM. Like most businesses, they, too, are asked to operate at a maximum of 25% of their normal listed occupancy.

Also on May 18, manufacturing facilities that did not remain open as essential services may re-open at - you guessed it - 25% of their listed occupancy. Offices with more than five employees are also asked to follow this guideline, and workers are asked to practice social distancing and good hygiene.

On May 1, restaurants were permitted to re-open their dining rooms, so long as they allowed no more than 25% of their posted occupancy. Some restaurants have chosen not to re-open their dining rooms as a precaution, so be sure to call ahead or check their website or social media before heading in. Most restaurants are still offering delivery, take-out, and curbside service.

Schools will remain closed through the end of the current semester, but students may visit campus to clean out their locker, collect personal belongings, or return things like books and band instruments.

Graduating seniors may also visit campus to complete post-secondary requirements that can't be done online.

In both cases, students and anyone accompanying them are asked to practice social distancing and hygiene. Be sure to check with your school before trying to visit to make sure you can actually get in and for information about health and safety practices.

As far as graduation ceremonies go, schools may conduct them, but are asked to comply with the minimum standard health protocols issued by the Texas Education Agency.

  • Completely virtual ceremonies that take place entirely online, with the use of video conference or other technologies.
  • Hybrid ceremonies, which consist of a compilation of videos of students being recognized in person as they celebrate graduation in small groups.
  • Vehicle ceremonies, in which students and their families wait in their cars while other graduates are recognized one at time with their families alongside them.
  • Outdoor in-person ceremonies,which are currently permitted for counties as follows:

Between May 15 and May 31, an outdoor ceremony may take place in a rural county that has an attestation as described in theGovernor’s Report to Open Texas that remains in effect 7 days prior to the ceremony.

An outdoor ceremony may take place in any Texas county on or after June 1.

During a news conference Monday, officials announced the formation of Surge Response Teams who will be tasked with serving nursing homes, prisons, packing plants, and other facilities where flare-ups of COVID-19 cases occur.

See the details of Gov. Abbott's latest executive orders here.

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