iluna@valleytowncrier.com

AUSTIN, TEXAS – In a press conference held Tuesday afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott responded to Texas’ COVID-19 Phase 1 stage after reopening with limitations on Friday, May 1st.

Gov., Abbott announced the following modifications on Tuesday, May 5th to his Executive Order made Monday, April 27 that allowed Texas to reopen as “Phase 1” with a 25% occupancy in restaurants, movie theaters, retail businesses, etc.

BEAUTY SALONS and BARBER SHOPS:

Beginning Friday, May 8th beauty salons and barbershops can open at a 25% occupancy with a one-customer-per-stylist rule in place while other customers wait in their vehicle or indoors following the six-foot social distance rule. Customers and employees should wear face masks as an extra precaution and are recommended to work with an appointment-only schedule to reduce walk-in traffic.

GYMS/EXERCISE FACILITIES:

Can begin opening Monday, May 18th at a 25% occupancy also following the six-foot social distance rule. Equipment MUST be sanitized before and after each use. Customers MUST wear gloves that cover the hands and fingers. Locker rooms and showers will remain closed. Personal equipment (e.g., Yoga Mat) being brought in should be disinfected before and after.

If working outdoors at a gym facility, the 25% occupancy still applies and should follow the six-foot social distance rule.

CHURCHES, WEDDINGS, FUNERALS, MEMORIAL HOMES and BURIALS:

Should be treated as churches as stated in Gov., Abbott’s previous Executive Order and have a “designated area for the at-risk population” (Age 65+) by skipping pews /limited seating arrangements and have social distancing in place.

If a party should host a wedding, they should follow current restaurant safety measures – no more than 25% occupancy, six tables or less and have social distancing in place.

GRADUATION CEREMONIES FOR ALL EDUCATION LEVELS:

The following types of ceremonies are approved and should follow the standard safety measures.

1. Virtual Ceremony

2. Hybrid Ceremony (students could come in one at a time to collect their diplomas, have a short video and photos taken, and those videos and photos would be edited together to run at a virtual ceremony.)

3. Vehicle/Drive-Thru Ceremony (allowed under the governor’s plan, meaning schools could organize drive-in graduations or parades through designated street routes.)

4. Outdoor Ceremony (graduates and family groups must be spaced at least six-feet apart, with additional safety protocols e.g., Air Force Academy)

PARKS, BEACHES, RIVERS, LAKES and RIVER RAFTING:

Although it is not required to wear facial coverings/masks at parks, it is encouraged. The locations listed should follow the governor’s previous Executive Order. Groups should not exceed more than five individuals if traveling with a party out of their household. Individuals within a household traveling to the listed area(s) should not exceed more than those living in the same house.

OFFICE BUILDINGS:

Can reopen Monday, May 18th with no more than five employees or if it can maintain a 25% workforce. MUST have social distancing in place.

BARS/CLUBS:

Remain closed until a safety plan is in place for both small and large businesses.

As of Monday, May 4th, Texas’ hospitalization rate has decreased to 4.65% than what it was on April 20th showing 7.2%.

Gov., Abbott reassured that although the state has been seeing a rise in positive COVID-19 cases (784 Texans testing positive Monday, May 4th) the hospitalization rate has lowered and the recovery rate has increased.

“Texas is the third state to have a high recovery rate and has surpassed the number of active COVID-19 cases,” Gov., Abbott said.

Below are current numbers as of Monday, May 4th in COVID-19 Causes:

Hospitalization Needs

• April 20th 1, 411 persons

• April 27th 1, 563 persons

• May 4th 1, 533 persons

Hospital Equipment Set Aside

• 17,000 Hospital beds

• 2,000 ICU beds

• 6,600 Ventilators

Numbers After Reopening in Four Days

• 427, 210 Texans Tested

• 33, 369 Testing Positive

• 15, 672 Active Cases

• 1, 888 Hospitalized

• 906 Fatalities

• 16, 791 Tested Positive and Recovered

Total State and Fed PPE Bought and Distributed

• 53, 530, 460 Masks

• 2, 468, 974 Face Shields

• 777, 134, 030 Gloves

• 14, 564, 974 Gowns

Texas will continue to observe COVID-19 “flare-ups” as the state continues to slowly reopen where SURGE response team and National Guard are in place to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

For available COVID-19 Testing Centers Near You Visit the Link: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8bf7c6a436a64bfe9a5ce25be580e4ff&extent=-11921430.6694%2C2971608.7338%2C-10335209.4584%2C3926765.8392%2C102100