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AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott on Friday, June 26, 2020, issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.The order includes the following:
“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health. We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part. Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again.”View the Governor’s Executive Order.
June 8 —Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is coordinating with local officials, public health officials, and emergency management offices in cities across the state to identify and rapidly expand COVID-19 testing in underserved and minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. This mission is part of TDEM's ongoing partnership with the Texas Military Department (TMD), the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and increase testing where needed.
TDEM is already working with local officials in the cities of Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, El Paso, Abilene, the Rio Grande Valley, the Coastal Bend, Laredo, and Midland-Odessa to identify and establish walk-up and drive-thru testing sites that will meet the needs of each community, and is in the process of working with other cities to bring more sites online in the coming days. TDEM is also working with local leaders to expand walk-up and drive-thru testing in urban areas where large-scale protests have taken place.
"As the State of Texas continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we are committed to ensuring every Texan has access to COVID-19 testing no matter where they live," said Governor Abbott. "We must address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underserved and minority communities and ensure that anyone who needs a test can have one. As many Texans continue to gather for protests, the state is also taking steps to address potential surges in COVID-19 cases. We are ensuring that Texans can continue to safely exercise their First Amendment Rights while putting protocols in place to identify and mitigate any spread of COVID-19."
As these sites continue to come online across the state, Texans can visit covidtest.tdem.texas.gov to find the test collection location nearest them.
TMD currently has 1,535 National Guardsmen supporting the state's mission to expand testing across the Lone Star State. To date these teams have conducted 116,394 specimen collections, and have fielded over 195,000 phone calls for test collection appointments with an average wait time of 55 seconds.
June 3 — Governor Greg Abbott today announced the third phase of the State of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase III, effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions. Business that previously have been able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
As with previous phases, the Phase III plan is based on the advice and support of the four doctors on the Strike Force to Open Texas medical team. Via Executive Order, Phase III begins immediately. A breakdown of Phase III can be found below.
"The people of Texas continue to prove that we can safely and responsibly open our state for business while containing COVID-19 and keeping our state safe,” said Governor Abbott. "As anticipated, the new positive cases that we are seeing are largely the result of isolated hot spots in nursing homes, jails, and meat packing plants. Thanks to the effectiveness of our Surge Response Teams, we have the ability to contain those hot spots while opening up Texas for business. As we begin Phase III, I ask all Texans and Texas businesses to continue following the standard health protocols and to heed the guidance of our state and federal officials who continue to closely monitor COVID-19. If we remain vigilant, we will continue to mitigate the spread of this virus, protect public health, and get more Texans back to work and their daily activities."
Between May 26th and June 2nd, over 45% of new cases came from jails or prisons, meat packing plants and nursing homes. There are currently 1,487 Texans hospitalized due to COVID-19. There are 20,679 active cases in the state and 45,858 Texans are estimated to have recovered.
Effective June 3:
All businesses currently operating at 25% capacity can expand their occupancy to 50% with certain exceptions.
Bars and similar establishments may increase their capacity to 50% as long as patrons are seated.
Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases may open at 50% capacity.
Restaurants may expand their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.
Effective June 12:
Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75%.
Counties with 10 or less active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75%. Counties that fit this category but have not previously filed an attestation with DSHS will need to do so.
Effective June 19:
Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity.
Special provisions have been made for outdoor gatherings, such as Fourth of July celebrations, but it is imperative that local officials and public health officials collaborate on safe standards. These provisions are included in the Governor's Executive Order and are also available on the Open Texas webpage.
All businesses should continue to follow the minimum standard health protocols from DSHS. For details and a full list of guidelines, openings, and relevant dates, visit http://open.texas.gov.
Reminders for those going out: