Gov. Abbott announced that on Friday, May 1, select businesses and public spaces will be allowed to reopen across the state. This announcement, created under a state initiative called Open Texas, aims to responsibly and safely re-engage the economy while still keeping public health in mind.
Open Texas will roll-out openings in phases, with the first phase limiting building capacity to 25 percent for newly reopened spaces.
The following places are allowed to reopen:
Shopping Malls and Non-Essential Retail Stores
Shopping malls and retail stores are allowed to reopen. Food courts, children’s play areas, and interactive elements will still be closed off to the public.
Retailers are encouraged to adopt contactless payment methods in-store, such as Apple Pay, as well as dedicated hours for at-risk customers, and pick-up or delivery.
Customers will be allowed to dine-in at restaurants. Tables are to be limited to 6 people. Implementation of disposable menus, single-use condiments, and hand sanitizing stations are mandated.
These reopenings do not apply to restaurants that have a required 51 percent Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission sign posted.
Moviegoers will be able to watch movies on the big screen. Online ticketing will be prioritized, seats shall be cleaned between each use, every other row shall remain off-limits, and at least two seats of space shall be between each moviegoer.
If you are attending a movie with people of the same household, you are allowed to sit next to each other as long as two seats of space are left at the end of each side. Additionally, two people attending together, of different households, may be able to sit next to each other with respect to two seats of space at each end.
Museums and Libraries
Museums and libraries will be allowed to reopen. Patrons are required to follow health protocols posted by building authorities.
Places of Worship
Places of worship, such as mosques, churches, synagogues/shuls, will be allowed to reopen. Those at-risk are encouraged to attend remotely. Additionally, facilities are to designate an area of the building for those at-risk, or, alternatively, provide a separate service for those individuals.
Rules are similar to movie theatres, as two seats of space on each side are required, and families may sit next to each other. Two people attending together, of different households, may be able to sit next to each other with respect to two seats of space at each end.
Phase 1 will be in place until as soon as May 18th, of which gyms, bars, hair salons, and barbershops will be allowed to open. However, that will be determined within the next two weeks, as state officials are monitoring cases, and will act accordingly if there is a flare-up as a result of Phase 1.
All rules mandating face masks, social distancing, and increased safety measures implemented by private businesses are still in effect during this transition.
Furthermore, rural counties where COVID-19 has not been significant will be allowed to reopen all listed businesses at 50% capacity, as opposed to the 25% everywhere else. All other rules still apply.
You can read Gov. Abbott’s complete official Open Texas report here.