Businesses in the Tri-County continue to reopen as the area pushes ahead to recover economically from coronavirus restrictions.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Monday announced his next wave of reopenings, including all child care facilities, massage and personal care centers, and youth clubs on May 18, and bars and rodeo and equestrian events on May 22. Abbott also said he would permit restaurants to operate at 50% capacity starting Friday, although restaurants in Brewster County last week received permission to open at 50% since the county had no active COVID-19 cases.
Abbott’s phased reopening began May 1, starting with restaurants, stores, movie theaters, and malls opening at 25% capacity. On May 8 salons and barbershops reopened, and gyms opened their doors again on Monday with restrictions.
For bars that reopen, the state is recommending customers remain seated at tables of no more than six people, among other restrictions. Dancing is discouraged but not prohibited.
On May 31, Abbott will permit youth summer camps and youth sports to reopen. He will also allow certain professional sports to resume without spectators, including basketball, baseball, car racing, football, golf, softball, and tennis. Leagues will first have to apply for permission from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“Today, tomorrow, and every day going forward is one step closer to medical discoveries that can treat and protect people from COVID-19,” said Abbott. “But until that day comes, our focus is keeping Texans safe while restoring their ability to get back to work, open their businesses, pay their bills, and put food on their tables.”
Abbott also announced that Texas public schools have the option to provide in-person summer school as long as they follow social distancing practices and health protocols laid out by State Health Services. These classes may begin as soon as June 1.
Alpine ISD Superintendent Becky McCutchen said most of the district’s summer school would be virtual.
“TEA guidelines say we have to prioritize summer school, mainly for individual tutoring and specialized evaluations,” she said. “We are required to provide 120 hours of summer school for pre-K and kindergarten for limited English proficient students. We’re pretty sure we will be having that in person.”
The latest numbers show 723,013 Texans had been tested, with 48,693 testing positive for the coronavirus, or about 6.3%, and 1,133 deaths, or about 2.3% of those testing positive. Those percentages are down from last week’s numbers.
There are currently 19,065 active cases in the state, with 1,551, or about 8.1%, hospitalized, down from 10% hospitalized last week and 12% the week before.
As of press time, there were no active COVID-19 cases in the Tri-County.
For the period April 26-May 14, unemployment claims in Brewster County stood at 113.