Texas will be one of the latest states to start easing up on social distancing recommendations, with Governor Greg Abbott announcing on Monday that he will allow the state’s stay-at-home order to expire on Thursday, with a limited reopening of some businesses by Friday.
Politico reports that according to the Republican governor’s new order, retail stores, malls, restaurants, museums, libraries and theaters will be allowed to reopen on Friday with limited occupancy (at about 25 percent of their capacity) for at least two weeks as the situation is monitored.
If there is no renewed uptick in cases, businesses would then be allowed to increase that limit to about 50 percent around May 18. Counties that have 5 or fewer cases could start with increased capacity as early as this Friday, however.
“Now it’s time to set a new course, a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas,” Abbott said, according to CNN. “We will open in a way that uses safe standards—safe standards for businesses, for their employees as well as for their customers. Standards based upon data and on doctors.”
Other businesses, like barbershops, salons, gyms and bars, are not included in this phase; however, the governor said he wants to see them open “as soon as possible” and expects them to be open no later than mid-May, according to the report.
More and more states have begun to make plans for reopening, some with more restrictions than others.
Georgia, for example, was one of the first states to ease restrictions. Governor Brian Kemp’s orders permitted for everything from barbers, hair and nail salons, massage therapists, gyms and fitness centers and tattoo shops to reopen at the end of last week. By this Monday, restaurants and movie theaters were also open for business. Bars and nightclubs, however, are still closed for the time being.
Despite the push that some officials may feel to return to some semblance of business-as-usual as the economy continues to stutter under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, health experts have repeatedly warned against reopening too early, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“It’s going to backfire,” Fauci said in an interview on Good Morning America last week. “That’s the problem.”
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