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Monday, May 18, 2020

Texas Governor Green Lights Reopening of Bars, Sports and Child Care Centers

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 3:31 PM

click to enlarge Governor Abbott discusses the second phase of his reopening plan, which includes bars, wine tasting rooms and craft breweries. - KSAT12 LIVE FEED
  • KSAT12 Live Feed
  • Governor Abbott discusses the second phase of his reopening plan, which includes bars, wine tasting rooms and craft breweries.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday unveiled the next phase of his "safe and strategic" reopening of the state, saying child care facilities are cleared to open immediately and bars can begin serving at a limited capacity on Friday.

During a press briefing, Abbott also said he'll allow restaurants, which are now operating at 25% capacity, to double their capacity on Friday. Sporting events will be clear to return at the end of the month, although without spectators.

Despite the broader green light to businesses, Abbott said the Amarillo and El Paso areas, both recent hotspots for COVID-19 infections, would need to wait at least a week to enter their second round of reopenings.

He also urged Texans to continue to practice safe social distancing and take other steps to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

"As we move into Phase 2, be a good neighbor, be a Texan," he said.

The spate of new openings comes 18 after Abbott's first orders reopening nonessential businesses took effect.

During Monday's announcement Abbott trumpeted the state's increase in testing and a downturn in the number of tests that came back positive. Texas is now testing more than 25,000 people per day, he added.

Still, that number is short of the 30,000 the governor recently promised the state would be testing daily. What's more, Texas still lands near the bottom of states in the number of tests performed per capita.

Even though Abbott commended Texans on their ability to work together during the pandemic, Progress Texas spokeswoman Tara Pohlmeyer said he said nothing to acknowledge that reopening business is only one facet of helping families get back on their feet.

"Right now, folks are really worried about their communities, and we're not seeing the investment in things to improve their health and safety, like halting evictions or expanding Medicaid," she said.

Under Monday's order, outdoor seating at restaurants and bars is not subject to the occupancy limitation. However, patrons should be able to keep at least six feet of distance, Abbott said.

Gyms, manufacturing facilities and offices will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity as previously scheduled. Abbott added that the reopening of child care facilities, including YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs, is necessary so parents can return to work.

Theme parks and large attractions are not included in the latest round openings.

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