At a press conference Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said cosmetology, hair, nail, and tanning salons, along with barbershops, could reopen on May 8.
Certain rules will apply. Hair stylists will only be able to work with one customer at a time, and people waiting in barbershops will have to maintain six-foot separation or wait outside.
Gyms will reopen May 18, and can operate at a maximum 25% capacity. Showers and locker rooms must be closed, but restrooms can be open. Equipment must be disinfected after each use. Customers should wear gloves, and maintain social distancing.
The announcement came four days after Abbott let restaurants, retail businesses, movie theaters, and malls reopen at 25% capacity. Counties with five or fewer COVID-19 cases could increase their capacity to 50% after submitting a form to the state for approval.
Addressing funerals, memorials, burials, and weddings, Abbott said they should all be treated the same as church services that have limited seating arrangements and distancing guidelines.
Saying, “We strongly encourage at-risk populations to watch or participate in these services remotely,” Abbott pointed out that around 75% of COVID-19 deaths in Texas were among those age 65 and older.
Although state officials also want to reopen bars, Abbott said they were still working on ways to establish safe distancing. He asked for feedback from bar owners, given that not all bars are the same, particularly when it comes to size.
He warned that with additional reopenings, “flare-ups in certain regions” could occur, and said the state had assembled surge response teams to dispatch to problem areas. Abbott also noted that a jump in cases could be due both to increased testing and the transmission that comes with allowing more people out into the open.
The latest numbers show 427,210 Texans had been tested, with 33,369 testing positive, or about 7.8%, and 906 deaths, or about 2.7% of those testing positive. There are currently 15,672 active cases in the state, with 1,888, or about 12%, hospitalized.
More than 19,000 hospital beds are available in the state, with more than 2,000 ICU beds and over 6,600 ventilators available.
In the Tri-County
Locally, on April 25-26, mobile coronavirus test units were set up at four locations in the Tri-County. With 229 tested, results were in for all but 30. One COVID-19 positive was reported last week in south Brewster County, but that individual self quarantined, and has recovered.
As of press time, there were no active COVID-19 cases in the Tri-County, pending results of the remaining 30 tests.
More testing will be done in Fort Davis on Sunday, May 10 at the Jeff Davis County fire station by appointment only. No symptoms need be present, and testing will start at 9 a.m. To make an appointment call 512-883-2400 after 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 9. The testing is open to all area residents.
Sul Ross State University plans to phase in its reopening starting June 1. Emergency operations will end on that day, and the university will begin its return-to-campus process. Then on July 1 the university will resume normal operations, with all buildings open to the public, and the majority of employees returning to campus for regular business.
Find details and updates about the plan at srinfo.sulross.edu/covid-19/.
In Brewster County, for the period March 29-April 30, 332 claimants were on unemployment. More than 1.5 million Texans have filed for unemployment since restrictions started.