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Gov. Abbott outlines Phase III for opening the economy

Robin Bradshaw
rbradshaw1@gatehousemedia.com
Governor Greg Abbott's Office reopens the economy and states that between May 26 and June 2, over 45 percent of the new coronavirus cases came from jails or prisons, meat packing plants and nursing homes. Center of Disease Control (CDC) states social distancing is the safest protocol to stop the spread of the disease.

Governor Greg Abbott announced the third phase in opening the economy on Wednesday.

Governor Greg Abbott’s Office stated, that between May 26 and June 2, over 45 percent of the new coronavirus cases came from jails or prisons, meat packing plants and nursing homes. Center of Disease Control (CDC) states social distancing is the safest protocol to stop the spread of the disease.

Phase III will outline for opening the economy while still trying to maintain and decrease the spread of COVID-19.

“We are not out of the woods yet, and even though we are opening the economy, we still do not have a cure for the coronavirus and it is very, very contagious,” said Peter Zanoni the City Manager for Corpus Christi during the public update on Wednesday.

Nueces and Jim Wells Counties have had increase in cases this week. JWC has had COVID-19 transmission concerns and currently two county officials and two City of Alice officials are in self-quarantine.

City officials are asking residents to maintain safety guidelines to help stop the spread while opening the economy.

Under Phase III, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50 percent capacity, with very limited exceptions. Business that previously have been able to operate at 100 percent capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Effective June 3:

All businesses currently operating at 25 percent capacity can expand their occupancy to 50 percent with certain exceptions.

Bars and similar establishments may increase their capacity to 50 percent as long as patrons are seated.

Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases may open at 50% capacity.

Restaurants may expand their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.

Effective June 12:

Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75 percent.

Counties with 10 or less active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75 percent. 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 percent 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. These provisions are included in the Governor's Executive Order and are also available on the Open Texas webpage.

Further Protocols:

All businesses should continue to follow the minimum standard health protocols from DSHS. For details and a full list of guidelines, openings, and relevant dates, visit http://open.texas.gov.

Reminders for those going out:

• Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings.

• People should not be in groups greater than ten 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.