Phase II of Open Texas Began Monday, May 18, 2020
Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-23, relating to the expanded opening of Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
By way of Executive Order No. GA-23, restaurants that opened under Phase I may expand their occupancy to 50% beginning May 22. Bars—including wine tasting rooms, craft breweries, and similar businesses—may open at 25% occupancy but like restaurants, these occupancy limits do not apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distancing among parties. The following services and activities may open under Phase II:
- Child Care Centers (May 18)
- Gyms (May 18)
- Massage and Personal-Care Centers (May 18)
- Youth Clubs (May 18)
- Rodeo and Equestrian Events (May 22)
- Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, and Skating Rinks (May 22)
- Bars (May 22)
- Aquariums and Natural Caverns (May 22)
- Zoos (May 29)
- Day Youth Camps (May 31)
- Overnight Youth Camps (May 31)
- Youth Sports (May 31)
- Certain professional sports without in-person spectators (May 31)
All sporting and camp activities are required to adhere by special safety standards, and minimum standard health protocols have been established for all newly-announced opened services and activities. Businesses located in office buildings may also open but must limit their occupancy to the greater of 10 employees or 25% of their workforce.
Opened services and activities under Phase II are subject to certain occupancy limits and health and safety protocols. For more information, please refer to the governor’s Open Texas page. All services, businesses, and activities that open under Phase I and Phase II may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Things to Keep in Mind
As businesses, services, and activities begin to resume with minimum standards recommended by the DSHS, it remains vital to practice social distancing, proper hand hygiene, and to wear a face covering when in the public. Studies have shown that almost half of infections occur from carriers before they develop symptoms. In other words, almost half of infections occur from individuals who are not yet aware that they have COVID-19 (see graph below). The covering of one’s nose and mouth when outside their home or residence is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. When you wear your face covering, you are protecting other individuals. When others wear their face coverings, they are protecting you. This, along with maintaining the 6-feet social distancing guidelines and hand washing remain crucial steps to slow the spread of the virus.
Travis County Medical Society also recommends cocooning for people who are over 70 years of age and those who are medically vulnerable to COVID-19, by minimizing all interaction. This safety measure was established to protect people who could become very ill if they are infected with COVID-19. We recommend all patients who fall under this vulnerable population to practice cocooning.
We urge our patients to remain vigilant and to make their best judgments as more places begin to open and resume operation. Everyone has a role to play to maintain the slow spread of COVID-19 and to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. With the economy slowly re-opening, this is more important than ever. We want to remind our patients that at this time, there is no FDA-approved treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Presently, clinical trials are underway. If patients have any questions on safe and preventive practice, please refer to our blog or contact our office and we would be happy to assist.