By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
This afternooon Governor Greg Abbott shared his plan to gradually re-open restaurants, malls, movie theaters, libraries and museums starting this Friday, May 1 with 25% capacity to help flatten the curve of spreading coronavirus.
The order also states that the first phase of the plan also allows all licensed health professionals to reopen their clinics. Hospitals, though, must reserve 15 percent of their capacity for coronavirus patients, his order states.
The phase one order allows all of these businesses to reopen but it does not require them to do so, Abbott said in a press conference at the Texas Capitol on April 27.
“We’re not just going to open up and hope for the best,” Abbott said. “Opening Texas must occur in phases.”
Abbott also noted that under the first phase, populations that are vulnerable, like senior citizens, should remain home as much as possible.
The order also states that protective face coverings will no longer be mandated. Abbott said that while the wearing of coverings will continue to be encouraged, they would not be mandated. State orders supercede other local jurisdictions.
Then if a two-week flattening of the curve is seen and there are no “flare-ups”, Abbott said, then bars, gyms and hair salons will be allowed to reopen by mid-May. Texas will move to the second phase starting May 18.
City of Austin data shows the COVID-19 death toll in Texas is 661 and there are 25,292 cases statewide as of April 26.
In Austin/Travis County, there are 1,412 confirmed cases and 39 deaths so far, as of Sunday.
This report has been updated.