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COVID-19 Public Policy Update: April 28, 2020

Published Apr 28, 2020 by Taylor Landin

texas capitol building

In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Partnership will provide timely updates on public policies and other newsworthy items from local, state and national levels of government.

Beginning May 1st, Texas will begin Phase I of its reopening process.

  • Most businesses, including retail stores, movie theaters and malls will be permitted to reopen to customers at a maximum of 25% of normal listed occupancy, and with social distancing recommendations remaining in place. The food court, play areas and interactive displays in shopping malls will remain closed.
  • Health care providers, such as dentists, primary care physicians and specialists may reopen.
  • Hospitals must reserve at least 15% of its capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients.
  • Museums and libraries may also reopen under the same 25% occupancy restriction, and interactive exhibits will remain closed. Local jurisdictions may decide when to reopen their library systems. State libraries and museums should be open May 1.
  • Gyms, entertainment venues, bars, barber shops and hair salons must still remain closed until better best practices can be developed and implemented.
  • Some sporting activities will now be permitted, specifically those with four or fewer participants and with social distancing between the participants. Golf and tennis were both cited.
  • Religious services will be permitted, with guidelines issued by the Governor and Attorney General.
  • Restrictions on visits to nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities remain in place in an effort to protect elderly and vulnerable populations.
  • In recognition of the low prevalence of COVID-19 in many areas of the state, retailers in those counties with five or fewer cases will be permitted to operate at up to 50% occupancy.
  • The 14-day quarantine period for travelers from California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Atlanta, Georgia, Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, and Miami, Florida remains in place. The mandatory quarantine for travelers from Louisiana will end.

Governor Abbott emphasized the need to maintain social distancing practices, including wearing masks in public. Under his executive order, wearing a mask is not mandatory, however, and local jurisdictions are prohibited from fining or penalizing anyone not wearing a mask. Statewide testing continues to expand and a statewide contact tracing program and phone app are expected to be in place by the end of May. Should COVID-19 cases continue to hold steady or decline, then Governor Abbott will announce Phase II to begin on May 18, with higher occupancy allowances and the potential for additional businesses to resume operations. A spike in cases could delay the second phase.

Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information. And sign up for daily email alerts from the Partnership as the situation develops. 

Executive Partners