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Texas to lift some virus-linked restrictions, restart business in phases

The first business reopenings will require safe practices including limiting the number of people allowed into stores, movie theaters and malls to 25% of their licensed capacity, Abbott said on Monday (April 27). A second phase of openings could begin two weeks later.

“We will open in a way that uses safe standards, safe standards for businesses, for their employees, as well as for their customers. Standards based upon data and on doctors,” said Abbott, citing the use of capacity limits that match those now in use at grocery and home improvement stores in the state.

The second phase of the openings will depend on the status of the outbreak in Texas over coming days. If infection rates continue to decline, the state could allow up to 50% capacity limits on May 18.

The state’s number of new infections has declined for 17 days and hospitalization rates have been stable. The restart reflects residents’ commitment to safe distancing, data on inflection rates and the importance of entrepreneurs to the state’s economy, Abbott said.

Doctors and healthcare professionals are allowed to open their offices on May 1. Hospitals will continue to be required to reserve a portion of their beds for COVID-19 patients.

State officials will consider lifting restrictions on gyms, bars and hair salons at a later date. The state is looking at ways to reopen child care and summer camps for children, but has made no decisions.

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