On Monday, Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-18 which announced his statewide stay-at-home order would expire on Thursday, April 30th allowing some businesses to reopen this Friday. The Governor’s announcement is accompanied by Texans Helping Texas: The Governor’s Report to Open Texas. Texas will take a phased approach to reopening which allows government officials and state health organizations the ability to monitor the safety of Texans as we begin the return to normal – albeit a new normal. Phase I will begin Friday May 1 and continue until at least May 18.
Business owners and their patrons will be excited to hear that malls, retail stores, movie theaters, restaurants, museums and public libraries are the first to be given the green light to welcome customers back. However, the newly restored freedom comes with restrictions limiting customer occupancy to 25%.
Less populated Texas counties with five or fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases will be permitted to open at 50% capacity, Governor Abbott stated.
Churches and places of worship remain open. The guidance outlines the minimum recommended health protocols that must be taken in order to protect the health and safety of attendees. It also states individuals with underlying conditions should continue to watch services from home.
The Governor’s executive order allows golf course operations and other outdoor sports to resume so long as the sports do not include contact with other participants and no more than four participants are playing together at one time. Public swimming pools are not able to reopen yet.
Although some might consider them essential, businesses such as gyms, hair salons, bars, bowling alleys, video arcades and tattoo studios remain closed through Phase I.
Executive Order GA-18 clearly states reopening’s are not a mandate. Instead businesses are given the freedom to determine if they are equipped to reopen while maintaining the safety of their customers and employees. Given the number of businesses who incurred layoffs, some business owners may need time to rebuild their workforce and refill inventory before they can say “Welcome back. It’s so good to see you again!”
Melanie Kirk is a Certified Public Accountant and serves as the firm’s Managing Partner. Her industry expertise is both broad and deep and includes real estate, farm and ranch, oil and gas, retail and professional services. Melanie graduated from Trinity University with a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in accounting.
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