Abbott: State to reopen restaurants, retail May 1

  • Gov. Greg Abbott/ Screen shot
    Gov. Greg Abbott/ Screen shot

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will reopen the state starting May 1, according to a 2:30 p.m. press conference.

Abbott's disaster declaration has an April 30 expiration date, he said and, "That order has done its job to slow the growth of COVID-19, and I will let it expire," Abbott stated.

"Now it's time to start a new course... with new standards," Abbott said. "Standards based upon data and upon doctors."

Abbott's claims about successful statewide response to the virus include that $2 billion has been paid out in unemployment, he stated, as well as over 3000 members of the Texas National Guard have been deployed to perform mobile and stationary testing sites across the state, Abbott stated. 

"We've seen precautionary tales of what can happen when things re-open," Abbott said, citing Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and China's reported uptick in cases. "We're not just going to open up and hope for the best." 

  • Phase I: May 1. Vulnerable populations should remain at home, and businesses should make an effort to cater to them. Infectious disease protocols should be followed carefully at care homes. Those 65 and older account for 20% of Texans who test positive for COVID-19, but 65% of deaths, according to Abbott. Businesses that can open on May 1 include: Movie theaters, restaurants, retail stores, malls, with occupancy limited to 25%. Outdoor sports are limited to no more than four participants. Libraries and museums are open as well. This supersedes any county order
  • Phase II: May 13. Businesses that can open on May 1 may increase to 50% occupancy if there is not a spike in COVID-19 cases, Abbott stated. 

"Now more than ever, Texans must follow safe distancing practices," Abbott stated. Counties that have five or fewer COVID-19 cases can immediately increase to 50% occupancy, Abbott stated, with privileges reserved to restrict capacity in case of an outbreak. 

  • Barber shops, hair salons, bars and gyms are not included in Phase I reopening, Abbott stated. 
  • Children's summer camps are not included in Phase I reopening and will be decided at a later date, Abbott stated. 

Abbott stated he plans to test "easily 25,000" prospective patients per day. 

"This will be a team effort between the customer and the business," said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.