As the state’s 30-day stay-at-home order is set to expire on Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday, April 27, that many Texans will be allowed out of their homes this week to shop, dine and take part in other aspects of daily life as the state begins to reopen amid the global pandemic.
Retail businesses, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls across the state will be allowed to reopen May 1st at 25 percent capacity, as will museums and libraries. Bars, barber shops, gyms, and hair salons will remain closed, likely until mid-May. Businesses that violate the new capacity guidelines could be fined or lose their license.
The executive order does not prohibit people from accessing essential or reopened services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential or reopened services, visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging, bicycling, or other outdoor sports, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.
San Antonio and Bexar County’s stay-at-home orders are set to expire on Thursday, April 30. However, the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court and San Antonio City Council are expected to extend them.
Local orders in Bexar County and San Antonio requiring the usage of masks and other strategies to contain the virus implemented in any future order though could be impacted by the newest Governor Executive Order.
Under the Governor’s newest order, individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings, but no jurisdiction can impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering.
Judge Wolff and Mayor Nirenberg will be working on an order that will stay in compliance with what Governor Abbott is doing while still adhering to social distancing and limiting public gatherings. The 11-member city council and five-member commissioners court have a joint meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The City of San Antonio began closing businesses like bars and bowling alleys and limiting restaurants to curbside, delivery and drive-thru service on March 18 and later expanded the orders urging residents to stay at home on March 23. That subsequent order also closed non-essential businesses like retail.
On Monday night, Metro Health reported a total of 1,275 coronavirus cases in Bexar County with 44 deaths. About 42% of patients had made a complete recovery. Metro Health also reported 20,200 tests had been conducted in Bexar County since testing began and 93% percent of cases came back negative.
For SABORs outlying Counties with five or fewer cases of the virus, those will be able to open at 50 percent capacity as of May 1, if they show they are ready if outbreaks occur and are helping people access testing.
In providing or obtaining essential services or reopened services, people and businesses should follow the minimum standard health protocols recommended by DSHS, found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus, and should implement social distancing, work from home if possible, and practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation. This includes also following, to the extent not inconsistent with the DSHS minimum standards, the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, as well as other CDC recommendations.