Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous cities have gone on mandatory lockdown, effectively closing down all “non-essential” businesses in the process. The result has caused severe economic losses for local business owners. especially brick-and-mortar storefronts. With more and more small business owners protesting for local governments to reopen to save their businesses, many Southern states have started reopening their economies amid the viral outbreak.
Texas has officially become one of the latest states, in addition to Georgia and South Carolina, to start relaxing social distancing recommendations by the CDC. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday that he will allow the state’s stay-at-home order to expire on Thursday, with a limited reopening of some businesses by Friday.
“Now it’s time to set a new course, a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas,” Abbott said, according to CNN. “We will open in a way that uses safe standards — safe standards for businesses, for their employees as well as for their customers. Standards based upon data and on doctors.”
According to the Republican governor’s new order, retail stores, malls, restaurants, museums, libraries, and theaters will be allowed to reopen on Friday with limited occupancy (at about 25% of their capacity) for at least two weeks as the situation is monitored, Politico reports.
Other businesses, like barbershops, salons, gyms, and bars were not included in the initial opening phase, but Gov. Abbott did continue to say he wants to see them open “as soon as possible,” and expects them to be open no later than mid-May.
If there is no renewed uptick in cases, businesses would then be allowed to increase that limit to about 50% around May 18. Counties that have five or fewer cases could start with increased capacity as early as this Friday, however.