Below is a recap from the Abilene Chamber Director of Government Affairs, Doug Williamson, from Governor Abbott’s Press Conference.
Please note, the below is paraphrased. To view the full conference, click here.
The COVID-19 infection rate has been on the decline the last 17 days. Hospitalization rate has held steady. Texas has the third most recoveries in America.
Governor Abbott stated they provided Texas Workforce Commission with desperately needed help with new hires and volunteers. More than tripled the staff to more than 2,000. More than 1.9 million unemployment assistance have been filed and 1.6 million processed.
The Governor’s earlier executive order will expire April 30.
Opening businesses in Texas means using state standards to protect the business employees and customer. All of the decisions are based on data and recommendations from doctors.
Texas can't open all at once. We must put measures in place to help businesses open and contain the virus. Must be in phases.
Phase 1 begins May 1, 2020. Governor Abbott hopes to move to Phase 2 by May 18. Must see two weeks of data that show no flare-ups of COVID-19 to allow open businesses to expand and new ones to open.
Phase 1 protects the most susceptible.
Phase 1 emphasizes that vulnerable populations remain at home if possible. Redouble efforts to protect senior living centers.
What can open May 1? Click here for all the details. The website is experiencing extreme traffic.
All retail, restaurants, and movie theaters can open May 1. However, they must limit occupancy to no more than 25% of capacity. Supersedes all local orders. Phase 2 will move to 50% of capacity. No requirement to reopen. All museums and libraries under same 25% limit. Hands-on exhibits closed.
Sole proprietors can safely return to work using safe standards.
Churches can expand capacity with safe distancing practices.
Outdoor sports allowed with no more than four people at a time. Phase 2 could expand that number.
Doctors, nurses and dentists, all licensed healthcare professionals can return. Hospitals must keep 15% rooms reserved for COVID-19.
Businesses open now can continue to operate.
Not all counties are alike. To protect rural counties and with little or no cases (five or fewer), they must comply with safety standards. All businesses in those counties can go to 50% in phase 1.
Governor Abbott stated he wants to open other businesses, but doctors advise that barber shops, hair salons, barbershops, bars and gyms remain closed. Hopefully reopen by mid-May.
Summer camps: still working on safe ways for kids to attend.
TESTING: Contact tracing. Governor Abbott state they are building a team of 4,000 contact tracers that will help box in the expansion of COVID-19.
Governor Abbott stated we have a commitment to continue social distancing practices.
Entrepreneurs drive Texas economy.
View the press conference in full here.