Gov. Greg Abbott to let restaurants, movie theaters and malls open with limited capacity Friday

TEXAS TRIBUNE

The businesses must limit occupancy to no more than 25%. Abbott said the state’s stay-at-home order “has done its job to slow the growth of COVID-19.”

Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he will let the state’s stay-at-home order expire Thursday as scheduled and allow businesses to begin reopening in phases the next day, the latest ramp-up in his push to restart the Texas economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. First to open Friday: retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls. But they will only be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Museums and libraries will also be allowed to open at 25% capacity, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed. Abbott said a second phase of business reopenings could come as soon as May 18 — as long as the state sees “two weeks of data to confirm no flare-up of COVID-19.” That second phase would allow businesses to expand their occupancy to 50%, according to the governor. Abbott made the announcement during a news conference at the Texas Capitol, which he began by saying he would let the stay-at-home order expire because it “has done its job to slow the growth of COVID-19.” While the spread of the virus in Texas has slowed down throughout April, the number of cases is still increasing day to day, and it is unclear if the state has yet seen its peak.

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