The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Governor announces plan to reopen Texas

Governor announces plan to reopen Texas - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott holds a press conference on May 5, 2018 to unveil his school safety plan following a school shooting at Santa Fe High School. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The statewide stay-at-home orders will expire April 30 as planned, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday during a press conference. Some businesses are allowed to reopen to the public May 1 including retail stores, movie theaters, museums, public libraries and restaurants. Others are expected to reopen in phases throughout the month.

“Opening Texas must occur in phases,” Abbott said. “Obviously, not all businesses can open all at once. A more strategic approach is required to ensure that we don’t reopen only to have to close down again.”

The May 1 reopening is phase one of Abbott’s plan. Other businesses including bars, barbershops, salons and gyms may open with restrictions on May 18 if the coronavirus data does not show a spike over the next couple weeks.

Smaller towns and counties with five or fewer confirmed cases may open to 50% capacity rather than the reduced amount of 25% for larger cities.

Abbott strongly recommends Texans to wear a mask while in public; however, it is not mandatory. The governor said his executive order supersedes local orders and fines for those not wearing a mask. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff expressed their concerns with the state orders on Monday evening during a press conference.

“We are not through with this virus, and this virus is not through with us,” Nirenberg said.

Both Nirenberg and Wolff highly recommend wearing a mask in public to prevent spread of the coronavirus despite the order no longer being mandated. The pair announced Monday night they would continue to work with city and health officials to keep the virus contained in the city.

Previously, the county was fining people up to $1,000 for not wearing a mask in public.

The San Antonio leaders will be making adjustments to the city and county orders after their meeting with the City Council and Commissioners Court. The revisions will comply with the mayor’s announcement.

“We will do everything in our power to contain it,” Nirenberg said. “We’re not going to risk life and safety at all.”

Nirenberg said the city will still limit large gatherings but did not explain to what size.

“We’re not just going to open up Texas and hope for the best,” Abbott said during the press conference.

Licensed healthcare professionals and dentists who have closed during the orders may resume business hours.

There will be restrictions placed on businesses reopening to contain the virus including not allowing them to open to full capacity and some attractions to remain closed, Abbott said. Shopping malls, interactive displays, food courts and play areas are to remain closed.

Outdoor sports with no more than four players may resume such as golf and tennis. Players must abide by social distancing guidelines.

It is not mandatory for businesses to reopen, Abbott said. The choice to reopen is up to the businesses themselves.

The governor’s plan overrides all local orders, Abbott said.

About the Author

Brittany Pichler
Brittany Pichler
Managing Editor
Brittany Pichler is a senior communication major with a minor in sociology at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Brittany has an extensive background in marketing, having worked for a local San Antonio agency previously. She has since moved her expertise to writing, her biggest passion. After graduation in spring 2020, she looks forward to pursuing her master’s in creative writing and film at Sarah Lawrence or Columbia University in New York. Brittany aspires to become an author and screenwriter in the future. In her spare time, she enjoys going to concerts, reading and binge watching shows on Netflix.

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