In his May 5 press conference, Governor Greg Abbott reiterated the guidelines for the next phase of his gradual reopening. This phase allows hair and nail salons and barbershops to open their doors to clients with some guidelines typical within all proposed phases.
Abbott announced that Texas was third in the U.S. for recoveries and credited the public for following sanitization, social distancing, and shelter in place guidelines. He commended the work done by hospitals and hospital staff within Texas pointing out that there are 19,000 beds available within the state along with 2,000 ICU beds and 6,600 ventilators.
He took a moment to clarify that funeral services, burials, memorials, and weddings are being treated as church services and should have limited seating while following social distancing guidelines asking that attendees skip a row between seats and sitting only with members of their own household.
The reopening of nail and hair salons and barbershops was addressed as they are set to open their doors on Friday, May 8. He recommends that stylists and their clientele wear facemasks but acknowledged that it was a recommendation and not a guideline. He did state that there could be only one customer per stylist and waiting customers must remain six feet apart. Abbott reminded all salon owners and stylists that they were not required to open stating, “Every owner of every salon should use their own best judgment.”
Gyms are expected to open on May 18. Showers and locker rooms must remain closed and all equipment is to be disinfected after every use. He asks that social distancing guidelines are followed and that those utilizing gym equipment must wear gloves that cover the whole hand to include the fingertips.
Abbott asked for input from bar owners and operators to assist in establishing guidelines that would safely allow them to open for business once again. No date has been set for the opening of bars and none is expected until safe guidelines can be created and approved.
Manufacturers will be allowed to return to work on May 18 with strict guidelines requiring six feet between work stations. If this distancing is not possible plexiglass partitions must be placed between stations. Abbott recommended staggering shifts to avoid congestion as multiple workers arrive simultaneously.
Guidelines for graduation ceremonies have been created. Governor Abbott spoke on various types of ceremonies as options for all school districts. Virtual ceremonies, ones completely totally online, have already been approved. Hybrid ceremonies would have one student entering at a time with video of each graduate later edited to form one seamless ceremony. He discussed vehicle ceremonies, or parades, and outdoor ceremonies which would require social distancing guidelines to be followed.
Abbott urges Texas residents to prepare for any “flare-ups” but assures all that he has Surge Response Teams at the ready. These teams consist of personnel from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, National Guard and the Texas Military Division, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Abbotts stated that these teams will “search areas with elevated COVID-19 and use tactics to eliminate and reduce those flare-ups.” Further explaining the need for these SRTs Abbott said, “They’ll do things like provide more PPE, more testing supplies and they will work to enhance health care capabilities in those areas.” These teams will work closely with local officials to ensure the health and social distancing standards are put into place to contain the potential spread.
While Abbott acknowledged that enforcement of these guidelines would function on a local, regulatory, and state-level he did later issue an update to his GA-19 executive orders eliminating jail as an option for violation of his orders to avoid more incidences like those in Dallas and Laredo.