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Reopening Texas: Here’s what you need to know as Gov. Abbott prepares to lift more coronavirus restrictions

Here are the most important things happening this week:

Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to announce another set of reopening plans Monday

Gov. Greg Abbott is slated to announce another set of reopening plans on Monday. The 2 p.m. announcement is expected to come as the state continues to adjust to new reopening measures. You can watch Abbott’s news conference here.

At the end of April, Abbott allowed the state’s stay home order to expire and rolled back some coronavirus restrictions amid a new phase in the state’s response to the coronavirus. Initially, restaurants, churches, malls, retail stores and some other businesses were permitted to resume operations, with strict limits on capacity. By May 8, hair salons, barbershops and other beauty businesses got the green light to open up shop.

On Monday, May 18, more business will be allowed to reopen including gyms, nonessential offices and manufacturing facilities.

What will reopen in Texas on Monday

Governor Greg Abbott is expected to make an announcement on Monday that may address when some facilities that remain shuttered like bars can reopen, but certain businesses are already slated to reopen Monday.

All reopened businesses and services in the state are subject to the recommended minimum standard health protocols outlined by DSHS.

Here are the businesses set to reopen Monday:

Gyms

Gyms and exercise facilities will be permitted to reopen at 25 percent capacity, but with a caveat: Locker rooms and showers must remain closed. Restrooms may reopen. Gyms and exercise facilities can resume operations only if gym equipment is cleaned after each use, gym members use gloves that cover the entire hand while they work out, and social distancing practices are maintained.

For more information, Click here

Office buildings

Office buildings may resume limited operations Monday. Offices can operate at 25 percent capacity.

Office employers and employees must follow social distancing regulations and the minimum standard health protocols established by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Nonessential manufacturing facilities

Beginning Monday, non-essential manufacturing facilities may resume operations, with strict limits on occupancy. Manufacturers must limit capacity to 25 percent and follow a set of health guidelines.

View the guidelines here.

The businesses that will remain closed as of Monday

Certain establishments, including, but not limited to bars, massage businesses, tattoo studios, piercing studios, sexually oriented businesses, and interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys, video arcades, amusement parks, water parks, and splash pads remain closed with no set reopening date.

Texas State Parks will resume limited overnight camping

Come Monday, Texas State Parks will begin permitting overnight camping once again after temporarily suspending the practice earlier this year amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Existing social distancing standards and public health recommendations will remain in effect, including the recommendations urging visitors to bring their own supplies of hand sanitizer and wear face masks. State parks will also continue requiring visitors to maintain a six-foot distance from anyone outsider their party and limit gatherings to 5 people or less.

Texas State Parks will continue to operate at a limited capacity, according to a release. Operational changes still in effect at parks include the suspension of all transactions at parks, equipment rentals and in-person interpretive programs. All group-use facilities, visitor and nature centers, headquarters and other enclosed spaces where people congregate will also remain closed.

Where to find free food in the Houston area this week

Amid the pandemic, as some face layoffs or weeks without work, the demand for food assistance has increased at Houston-area food banks and distribution sites.

The Houston Food Bank, the Houston Independent School District and several other Houston-area organizations are stepping in to support Houstonians during a time when so many are in need.

Click here for more information on dates, times and locations where families can find free food in the Houston area.

City of Houston will hold first-ever virtual city council meeting Tuesday

The City of Houston will hold its first-ever virtual city council meeting Tuesday.

Public comment will be allowed via teleconference; no one will be allowed to appear in person in the Council Chamber, according to a release. All public comment will occur at the beginning of the meeting starting at 2 p.m. Those who wish to speak must register by Monday at 5 p.m. To register, call the City Secretary’s Office at (832) 393-1100

The meeting will also be broadcast on HTV, the City of Houston’s municipal channel, and streamed on the City’s website at https://www.houstontx.gov/htv/index.html and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/HoustonTelevision/videos/.

Click here for more information.

Galveston County, UTMB will begin offering free testing to all residents Wednesday

Beginning Wednesday, Galveston County and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) will offer free COVID-19 testing for Galveston County residents.

Testing will be by appointment only and free to the public at three different sites in Galveston, League City and Texas City, according to a release. County residents can call (83) 632-6731 to schedule an appointment. A government-issued form of identification will be required at the time of testing to verify residency.


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