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Hidalgo signs new stay-home, work-safe order for businesses not permitted to reopen by Abbott

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed a new stay-home, work-safe order Saturday morning.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed a new stay-home, work-safe order Saturday morning. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed a new stay-home, work-safe order Saturday morning.

Non-essential Harris County businesses and others that were not designated to reopen by Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order must remain closed through May 20, Hidalgo announced on Twitter. Hidalgo said the move will help stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We need to remain vigilant for a phased reopening to work,” she wrote.

On Monday, Gov. Abbott said he is aiming for May 18 as the target date for the second phase of reopening the Texas plan. He said he will factor in hospitalization rates, COVID-19 death rates, and if there are hot spots in different parts of the state. In Phase 2, he hopes to open barbershops, hair and nail salons, bars and gyms.

In accordance with Abbott’s order, here is a list of businesses that cannot open under this order:

  • All businesses except essential services or reopened services as defined in Executive Order GA-18 operating within Harris County should cease all activities at facilities located within the County
  • Gyms, fitness centers, public swimming pools, interactive amusement venues and other facilities that are used or intended to be used for any type of training, martial arts, sport or recreation
  • Barbers, hair salons, nail salons, cosmetology services, spas, massage businesses, tattoo studios, piercing studios, concert halls, live performance theaters, arenas, stadiums, game rooms, bowling alleys, arcades, and bingo halls
  • Bars may not reopen for on-premises service

Here are Hidalgo’s recommendations to Harris County residents:

  • Minimize social gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household
  • People over the age of 65 are strongly encouraged to stay at home as much as possible
  • If leaving the home, implement social distancing, and practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation
  • People shall not visit nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness are strongly urged to obtain shelter
  • Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas. Individuals may engage in outdoor sports provided that the sports do not include contact with other participants and involve no more than four participants playing the sport at the same time. Park benches, communal playgrounds, and playground equipment may increase the spread of COVID-19 and, therefore, shall remain closed.
  • If someone in a household has tested positive for COVID-19, all residents of the household are ordered to isolate at home until cleared by a public health authority or medical provider

Here are Hidalgo’s recommendations to Harris County business owners:

  • All businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home)
  • Essential services may continue operating at full occupancy but are encouraged to operate at less-than-total occupancy and to permit as many employees as feasible to work from home
  • The use of drive-through, pick up or delivery options for food and drinks remain permitted and highly encouraged
  • Religious services should be conducted in accordance with the joint guidance issued and updated by the Texas Attorney General and Governor
  • Nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities should follow infection control policies and practices set forth by the HHSC, including minimizing the movement of staff between facilities whenever possible

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