Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the state’s transition into Phase II of his gradual reentry plan in a Monday afternoon press conference.
Abbott announced that child care facilities, youth clubs, specifically named Boys and Girls clubs, massage parlors, and sports facilities were allowed to reopen immediately.
The reopening of these youth clubs and child care facilities brought relief to essential workers struggling to find qualified caregivers for their children while schools remained closed.
Businesses such as restaurants and retail stores that were previously allowed to open at 25% capacity have been cleared to increase their capacity to 50%.
Struggling bar owners rejoiced as the announcement was made that bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, zoos, and aquariums will be allowed to reopen Friday, May 22. These businesses will be expected to function at 25% capacity while practicing social distancing guidelines. Hand sanitizers must be provided at all entry points and no more than six people can be seated at any table. The governor stressed that dancing is “discouraged” as it makes social distancing nearly impossible.
Professional sports within the state will be allowed to return on May 31. While baseball, football, and basketball teams can resume practice and play they must do so without in-person fans. The return of sports includes youth sports camps and Little League.
Overnight camps such as summer church camps, Scout camps, 4H clubs are also allowed to open back up to their respective groups.
Abbott also announced that schools could begin summer programs, to include summer school, on June 1. Safe distancing guidelines must be followed in all classroom settings.
Summer attractions such as Six Flags, Schlitterbahn, and related parks are expected to remain closed while the governor’s health and safety team attempt to create guidelines fitting to their environment.
Governor Abbott took a moment to commend Texas’ continued response to the pandemic, pointing out that as of May 1 Texas had doubled the number of tests provided in March and April combined. He stated that Texas regularly distributed 1 million masks per day and continued to have bed space and ventilators at the ready.