Announcement Made by Governor
By Will Johnson
TEXAS – During a press conference held Tuesday afternoon, May 5, Gov. Abbott announced hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and tanning salons may re-open on Friday if they adhere to the state guidelines designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
As he began, Gov. Abbott provided an update on the most recent statistics relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As of today, the total number of Texans who have been tested for COVID-19 is 427,210. The total number of people who have tested positive is 33,369. The number of active cases is 15,672. The hospitalizations confirmed are 1,888. The fatalities are 906 and the total number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who have recovered from that infectious disease is 16,791,” he said.
“For the fourth day in a row,” Abbott continued, “we are increasing the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in relation to the people who still have active cases of COVID-19. Now, we have more than 1,000 people who have recovered than those who have tested positive.”
Given that backdrop and after providing more data, the governor urged the employees and their customers involved in the soon-to-be re-opened businesses to wear face masks and practice social distancing as much as possible when interacting with each other. He also said these businesses should operate by appointment only and employees of the businesses should only work with one customer at a time.
Abbott encouraged people to wait outside in their vehicles if at all possible. He added that if people feel the need to wait inside the business, they need to practice social distancing and stay at least six feet apart from each other.
The governor stressed that owners of hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and tanning salons have the option of re-opening on Friday. Adding that he understands that some business owners may not feel safe about re-opening, Abbott said they aren’t required to re-open on that date
“Texas is in a position to continue opening parts of our economy because of the efforts and determination of the people of Texas,” Abbott said.
“Over the past month,” he added, “Texans have worked together to contain the spread of COVID-19 by following social distancing practices and staying at home whenever possible. As we move forward, I urge all Texans to continue following these social distancing guidelines and the health standards we have provided. With every Texan doing their part, we will contain COVID-19, we will unleash our entrepreneurs, and we will make it through this challenge together.”
Later in the press conference, the governor said beginning on May 18, office buildings may open with the greater of five or less individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. These individuals must maintain appropriate social distancing.
Gyms, exercise facilities, and exercise classes may also open on May 18, but may only operate at 25 percent occupancy. Locker rooms and shower facilities will remain closed, but restrooms may open. Non-essential manufacturing services may also open on May 18 but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25 percent. Abbott said that gym owners and managers will be required to sanitize their facilities before and after they open each day.
“Funerals, memorials, burials and weddings are all treated the same as church services that have limited seating arrangements. You will need to go back and see what those guidelines are that I issued for church-type gatherings. Understand this, whether attending church, a funeral, memorial, burial or a wedding, we strongly encourage at-risk populations to participate remotely,” he said.
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath also spoke about graduation and end-of-year ceremonies for public school students. He said these types of ceremonies will be allowed if the school districts follow certain constraints.
According to the governor’s website, “The TEA is providing four different pathways for schools to celebrate their graduating seniors and each district is at liberty to determine if any of these options best serve the needs and desires of their community.”
These four options are:
- Completely virtual ceremonies that take place entirely online, with the use of videoconference or other technologies.
- Hybrid ceremonies, which consist of a compilation of videos of students being recognized in person as they celebrate graduation in small groups.
- Vehicle ceremonies, in which students and their families wait in their cars while other graduates are recognized one at time with their families alongside them.
- Outdoor in-person ceremonies, which are currently permitted for counties as follows – Between May 15 and May 31, an outdoor ceremony may take place in a rural county that has an attestation as described in the Governor’s Report to Open Texas that remains in effect 7 days prior to the ceremony. An outdoor ceremony may take place in any Texas county on or after June 1.
Full details of the TEA’s graduation ceremony guidance can be found on the TEA website.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.