Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday that he will allow the statewide stay-at-home order to expire on April 30, giving the greenlight to restaurants, all retail stores, and movie theaters to open at 25 percent capacity. The governor, citing a decline in the statewide coronavirus infection rate over the last 17 days, said phase one of the reopening plan will begin on May 1, and the second phase will begin as early as May 18 as long as data does not reveal another spike in cases. Abbott—while encouraging social-distancing practices—said that churches and medical practitioners such as dentists may also reopen their doors.
“Texas is a very diverse state with a very diverse geography. The fact is, not all counties are alike,” Abbott said. Businesses that are not allowed to reopen in phase one of the plan include bars, gyms, barber shops, and hair salons, but the governor noted that they may be allowed to reopen in mid-May if the state reaches phase two. He also emphasized that his directive “supersedes all local orders.”