Gov. Abbott moves onto phase 2 of re-opening Texas
By Allison Flores
The Cuero Record
Texas Governor Greg Abbott addressed the public in a press conference today, Monday, May 18, with plans to re-open the Texas economy following closures due to the outbreak of COVID-19, or coronavirus.
"Our focus is to keep you safe, while also restoring your ability to get back to work–to open your businesses, to pay your bills, to put food on your tables," stated Gov. Abbott. "But, let's be clear, COVID-19 still exists in Texas. Our goal is to find ways to co-exist with COVID-19 as safely as possible. That includes: continuing these safe practices that we've adopted–maintaining safe distances, wearing a mask, sanitizing your hands. it is a face that these safe practices save lives. Another safe practice that must be emphasized is protecting our most vulnerable Texans–those who are 65 and older who may have other types of health conditions. They represent most of the COVID-19 deaths in Texas."
He continued, "As we move into phase 2, the safest strategy for seniors is to continue to stay home, if at all possible. Additionally, in the three weeks that I announced phase 1–we've also substantially boosted our capabilities to respond to and contain COVID-19. For example, we now have ample supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment)–we distribute well more than one million face masks per day. Our testing has increased–in just the first half of May, we more than doubled the number of tests given in all of March and April combined. We are now averaging more than 25,000 tests per day."
In phase 2 of Texas' plan to re-open, various personal service businesses will be allowed to open at 25% occupancy starting Friday, May 22. Businesses allowed to re-open include: bars, bowling alleys, rodeo/equestrian events, zoos, aquariums, etc. Restaurants, which have been able to operate at 25% occupancy since early May, will now be able to operate at 50% occupancy.
In effect as of Monday, May 18, child care facilities, massage and personal care parlors, and youth clubs will be able to proceed with events and business.
In effect on May 31, youth day camps, overnight youth camps, youth sport organizations and professional sports without in-person spectators will be able to proceed.
Abbott's conference comes after the total coronavirus cases in Texas increased to at least 47,784, including 1,336 deaths, according to the State Department of Health Services. The state's highest single day recording of confirmed cases took place on Saturday, May 16 with 1,801 new cases; more than 700 of those cases, as Abbott noted, were connected to the Amarillo meat packing plants.
"Most importantly to our ability to open up was strengthened by our ability to identify and respond to COVID-19 hot spots," stated Abbott. "We have found that most of the areas that have sudden increases in COVID-19 cases fall into three categories: nursing homes, jailes, and meat packing plants. When hot spots like this arise, we send in surge response teams to quickly provide COVID-19 tests, and to separate the sick from the healthy–and to ensure that the outbreak is contained. We also help to sanitize the area to protect people from getting infected in the future."
For more informaiton and a full list of businsses allowed to re-open, visit https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas