Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced sweeping reopenings in the state, from child care centers to bars, bowling alleys, rodeos and bingo centers, just days after Texas reported its biggest one-day jump in Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began.
Child care centers, office buildings, youth clubs and massage and personal-care centers may open immediately, Abbott said at a news conference Monday.
At the end of the week, on May 22, restaurants will be allowed to increase capacity to 50%, from 25% now. Bars, wine tasting rooms and craft breweries can open at a 25% capacity, the governor said. Those capacity limits do not apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distances, Abbott said.
“Today, tomorrow and every day going forward is one day closer to medical discoveries that will help treat and protect people from getting Covid-19,” Abbott said. “Until that day comes, our focus is to keep you safe while also restoring your ability to get back to work, to open your businesses, to pay your bills, to put food on your tables.”
Texas, one of the first states to reopen, on Saturday saw its highest single-day increase in positive Covid-19 cases yet, 1,801, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
At the news conference Monday, Abbott attributed the spike to increased testing. The percentage of positive tests has gone down, he said.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, though, attributed the rising numbers at least in part to the state’s reopening of businesses.
“Well, more than likely what you saw in the cases jumping in the past few days that we’ve reported is a change in policy with respect to the reopening of parts of our economy, a couple weeks ago,” the mayor told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” on Monday.
More businesses, camps and schools may open soon
The state reported just 11 new deaths from Covid-19 on Monday, the lowest new daily death toll since March 31, when the state had only four fatalities, according to the health department’s data.
Various businesses including bowling alleys, bingo halls and skating rinks, as well as rodeos and aquariums may also all open at 25% capacity on May 22, Abbott said.
Zoos may reopen May 29.
On May 31, some professional sports can apply to the Department of State Health Services for approval to hold events without spectators, including golf, outdoor racing, baseball, softball, tennis, football and basketball.
Youth sports camps and programs such as Little League also will be allowed to open May 31. Parents will be allowed to watch, as long as social distancing is followed, according to Abbott.
Summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps will also be allowed to open.
On June 1, school districts are allowed to open for summer school classes as long as distancing practices are followed, Abbott said.
Some counties to open later
Several counties with higher amounts of infections and cases or which have low hospital capacity will not be starting this second phase of reopenings until May 29. Those counties are El Paso, Moore, Potter, Randall and Deaf Smith, the governor said.
Abbott ended Texas’ stay-at-home order May 1, allowing businesses such as retail stores, malls, restaurants and theaters to reopen that day at 25% capacity.
On May 8, cosmetology salons, barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons and swimming pools were able to open, following certain guidelines.
Texas had 48,640 total Covid-19 cases as of Monday afternoon, with 1,344 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
CNN’s Konstantin Toropin contributed to this report.