Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to let restaurants, movie theaters and malls open with limited capacity May 1

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Gov. Greg Abbott declares a statewide emergency amid new cases of COVID-19 in the state on March 13, 2020 at the state capitol. Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday said he will let the state’s stay-at-home order expire at the end of the month, and allow businesses to begin opening in phases in May.

First to open on Friday: Retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls. But they will only be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Museums and libraries will also be allowed to open at 25% capacity, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed.

Abbott's order supersedes local orders saying those businesses must remain closed. But the reopenings are optional. Businesses can stay closed if they wish, Abbott said.

At the same time, Abbott said he is holding off on reopening certain businesses for the time being, including barbershops, hair salons, bars and gyms. He said he hopes those businesses can open "on or no later than mid-May."

"Just as we united as one state to slow COVID-19, we must also come together to begin rebuilding the lives and the livelihoods of our fellow Texans,” he said.

The previous stay-at-home order "has done its job to slow the growth of COVID-19," Abbott said.

"Now it’s time to set a new course, a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas," Abbott said.