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Gov. Abbott announces Phase 3 of Texas reopening; capacity limit expanded to 50% for most businesses

Most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits, the governor said.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the third phase of reopening businesses in Texas amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the governor’s plan, most Texas businesses will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity, effective immediately. That includes businesses currently operating at 25% capacity, such as bars, gyms and indoor wedding venues. Video game facilities can also open at 50% capacity.

Most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits, the governor said.

“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 Abbott. “As anticipated, the new positive cases that we are seeing are largely the result of isolated hot spots in nursing homes, jails and meatpacking 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.”

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Abbott said as the state begins Phase III, all Texans and Texas businesses are asked to continue following the standard health protocols and guidance of state and federal officials monitoring 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,” he said.

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All businesses are required to follow the minimum standard health protocols from DSHS, and those in public are asked to follow these guidelines:

  • Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings.
  • People should not be in groups greater than 10 when possible.
  • People over the age of 65 are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.
  • People are still asked to avoid nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities or long-term care facilities.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 20,679 active COVID-19 cases in the state of Texas, while 45,858 Texans are estimated to have recovered.

Effective June 3:

  • All businesses currently operating at 25% capacity can expand 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 fewer than 1,000 confirmed positive cases may open at 50% capacity.
  • Restaurants may expand their maximum table size from six to 10 people.

Effective June 12:

  • Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75%.
  • Counties with 10 or fewer 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.

Additional openings:

“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,” the governor said. 

Gatherings with an estimated attendance of 500 or more are permissible to hold in Texas. These events will be allowed in coordination with the county judge or mayor, as well as the local public health authority. Occupancy limits are subject to change based on local COVID-19 concerns.

More provisions are available on the Open Texas webpage.

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