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May 05, 2021

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Texas Governor Announces Move to Phase II of “Reopen Texas” Plans

On May 18, 2020, Governor Abbott announced Texas is ready to move into Phase II of his campaign to “reopen Texas,” but cautioned that the most vulnerable populations should continue to stay home when possible. The following businesses/organizations must follow the guidelines found here.

In laying out the executive order, Governor Abbott stated:

  • Texas has an ample supply of PPE and has distributed more than one million masks per day.

  • Averaging 25,000 tests per day.

  • Nursing homes, jails, and meat packing plants are the state’s current hotspots.

  • One key metric is the positivity rate. Texas has seen a downward trajectory in the positivity rate since April 21. The seven-day average was 13.86% on April 17; on May 17, it was 4.97%.

  • State is not co-mingling antibody testing numbers with overall testing numbers.

  • State needs 4,000 contact tracers. Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is working on perfecting this process to access the best data.

Highlights of Executive Order GA-23 include:

  • Effective immediately, childcare services other than youth camps may operate.

  • Also effective immediately, May 18, other personal service businesses may reopen, provided, social distancing is maintained. This includes:

    • Massage establishments

    • Personal-care and beauty services

      • Tattoo studios

      • Piercing studios

      • Hair removal services

      • Hair loss treatment and growth services

  • All office buildings may reopen. Employers can operate with 10 employees or 25% of workforce capacity.

  • Starting at 12:01 a.m. on May 22, 2020, for all Texas counties except Deaf Smith, El Paso, Randall, Moore and Potter:

    • Restaurants can increase capacity to 50%.

      • Interactive games and video arcades must remain closed.

    • The following establishments can operate at 25% capacity:

      • Bars, wine tasting rooms, craft beer venues.

      • Bowling alleys, bingo halls, aquariums, natural caverns, skating rinks.

      • Rodeos and equestrian events.

      • Drive-in concerts that generally require spectators to remain in their vehicles.

      • Amateur sporting events at which the general public is not allowed, and for which all participants have tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the event, are quarantined for the duration of the event and are temperature checked and monitored for symptoms daily.

  • Starting May 29, 2020, all services that were restored for other Texas counties will apply for Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Randall and Potter counties.

  • Starting May 31, 2020, for all Texas counties the following may open:

    • Professional sports can open without spectators physically on premises.

      • Basketball

      • Baseball

      • Softball

      • Golf

      • Tennis

      • Football

      • Car racing

    • Youth camps and all summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps for youths.

    • Youth sports programs may begin practices, but games and competitions may not begin until June 15, 2020.

The executive order, as it pertains to hair and nail salons, is retroactive to April 2, 2020, to the extent necessary to supersede and nullify the existence of any prior or existing local executive order, the violation of which could form the basis for confinement in jail. Additionally, all existing state executive orders relating to COVID-19 are amended to eliminate confinement in jail as an available penalty for violating the order.

View Governor Abbott’s press release regarding this announcement. For a guide to all of Governor Abbott’s Coronavirus executive orders, click here. View Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas

© 2021 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 140



About this Author

Craig P. Chick Public Affairs Attorney Foley & Lardner Austin, TX
Director, Public Affairs

Craig Chick is a public affairs director with Foley & Lardner LLP. Prior to Foley, he was a former senior advisor to Speaker Joe Straus on issues impacting business, energy, and government efficiency. Prior to working in the speaker’s office, Craig spent over 15 years as a senior advisor to Texas House and Senate members such as Kyle Janek and Fred Bosse. Having been involved in Texas politics for over 23 years, Craig has advised members of the House and Senate on political discourse involving alcohol, economic development, electric generation and transmission, employment,...

Amy Beard Public Affairs Attorney Foley & Lardner Austin, TX
Public Affairs Advisor Sr

Amy Beard is a public affairs advisor with Foley & Lardner LLP. Amy has over 13 years of experience in government relations, reputation management, public policy, and legislative advocacy.

Amy’s experience includes being a founder of Windmill Consulting where she lobbied for clients such as Google, Uber, DJI Technology, and Walmart. Prior to Windmill Consulting, Amy was the governmental affairs consultant at Cammack & Strong, P.C., where for over 10 years she provided consulting services and advocacy on policy issues for clients in various industries including technology,...

Arthur Val Perkins Real Estate Lawyer Foley Lardner

Val Perkins is a sought after lobbyist and litigator who focuses on real estate development issues, including forming municipal utility districts and other special districts that encourage and foster more rapid real estate development. Val also handles related water and land use matters before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Specializing in legislative lobbying, he represents clients before the Texas Legislature in business, construction, health care, homeowners association and housing matters. Val also represents clients with administrative concerns and in administrative...