Governor Issues Order to Re-open Businesses

May 14, 2020

Governor Abbott’s May 6th Executive Order orders Texans to continue minimizing social gatherings and in-person contacts except with those in the same household through May 19, 2020, and those over 65 are encouraged to say home. Notwithstanding, some businesses are permitted to reopen on May 6th, and additional services are allowed to re-open on May 18th. Still other businesses are not permitted to re-open by the order.

Essential services are listed here and here, and include churches or religious services. Essential services are not subject to the limitations set forth below.

Services re-opened as of May 6th unless otherwise specified are the following:

  1. Retail services, to the extent that they provide these services through customer pick-up or delivery;
  2. In-store retail services to the extent that admittance into the retail store is limited to 25% of the total listed occupancy capacity of the store;
  3. Dine-in restaurants, to the extent that the restaurants only operate at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy capacity of the restaurant, may re-open. However, bars, or other establishments that receive at last 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages may not open. Restaurants allowed to open under this provision do not have to meet the occupancy requirements for outdoor seating areas. Further, restaurants may not provide valet services except for vehicles with disabled placards or plates;
  4. Movie theaters, to the extent that they only operate at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy of any individual theater;
  5. Shopping malls, to the extent that they only operate at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy capacity of the mall, may re-open. However, food courts, play areas and other interactive settings within the mall remain closed;
  6. Museums and libraries may reopen, to the extent that they operate at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy capacity. However, local public museums and libraries are subject to opening by the local government. Further, those museums and libraries allowed to re-open may not open any interactive functions or exhibits, including play areas;
  7. Services provided by an individual working alone in an office may re-open immediately. On Monday, May 18, 2020, offices with more individuals may re-open to the extent that the greater of the following is not exceeded: 5 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Such offices must maintain social distancing;
  8. Golf course operations;
  9. Local government operations;
  10. Wedding venues, wedding reception services, and services required to conduct weddings, to the extent that indoor weddings or receptions not held in a church or house of worship not exceed 25% of the total listed occupancy of the facility;
  11. Cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons/shops, and tanning salons may reopen on May 8, 2020, but 6 feet of social distancing must remain between work stations;
  12. Swimming pools may reopen May 8, 2020 to the extent that they do not exceed 25% of the total occupancy of the facility; and
  13. Manufacturing services for facilities that operate at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy of the facility may reopen on May 18, 2020.

Additionally, in certain Texas counties with fewer than 5 cases of COVID-19, businesses may operate at up to 50% those services listed above which are limited to 25% occupancy.

The occupancy limitations set forth by the May 6th order do not include staff members, except for non-essential manufacturing service providers and services provided by office workers.

Bars, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, sexually oriented businesses, bowling alleys, video arcades, amusement parks, water parks, splash pads and other interactive amusement venues remain closed and shall be avoided.

The executive order specifically permits visiting swimming pools, parks, rivers, beaches, lakes, hunting, fishing, jogging, bicycling or other outdoor sports, provided that necessary precautions are in place to minimize in-person contact with others.

Except to provide specified critical assistance, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, state-supported living centers or long-term care facilities shall not be visited.