Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continued the reopening of Texas on Monday, and more businesses will be allowed to open later this week.
Tony Plohetski, a senior reporter for KVUE-TV in Austin, and reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, told Texas Standard host David Brown on Tuesday that this next phase encompasses a variety of businesses, but with certain limitations.
The following businesses were allowed to reopen on Monday: gyms, childcare providers, office buildings, massage and tattoo businesses and youth clubs like scouting groups.
On Friday, bars will be allowed to reopen, but with certain restrictions, including a 25% capacity limit and no loitering outside or dancing inside.
Also reopening on Friday: bowling alleys, bingo halls, skating rinks, rodeos and aquariums.
Later in the month, professional sports teams will be allowed to resume games in Texas. But Plohetski said that’s only if they file an application and are approved by the state.
“Those sports will not be allowed to have live spectators on the premises to watch the events,” Plohetski said.
All of this is happening amid recent spikes in coronavirus cases, especially around Amarillo and El Paso. Plohetski said Abbott has claimed that more cases are the result of more tests becoming available. Abbott has also conceded that an increase in cases is inevitable as people are allowed to gather more.
There are many metrics the governor can use to determine whether it’s safe to reopen the state. He’s basing his decisions mainly on the rate of new COVID-19 infections, which appears to be on the decline. As of May 15, the number of new positive cases overall in Texas had declined by more than 6% over a two-week period, according to an analysis by The Texas Tribune.
“It is true that in recent weeks, we have seen that number go down somewhat,” Plohetski said.
Abbott is also basing his reopening decisions on the number of available hospital beds.
Web story by Caroline Covington.
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