Texas to lift coronavirus restrictions this week, businesses to reopen in phases

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the US Army Corps of Engineers and the state are putting up a 250-bed field hospital at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas during a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Sunday, March 29, 2020.

Tom Fox | Getty Images

Texas will lift its most stringent statewide coronavirus restrictions this week and allow some businesses to reopen with safety requirements, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday. 

“Because of your efforts, the Covid-19 infection rate has been on the decline for the past 17 days,” he said at a news briefing. “Because of your efforts, and especially the work of our doctors and nurses and all our health care providers, our hospitalization rate has held steady and our hospital capacity has remained above it.”

Abbott will allow the current statewide stay-at-home order to expire on April 30, he said, adding that businesses will reopen in phases beginning May 1. He said restaurants, retail stores and bars will be among the businesses allowed to reopen first, though capacity will be limited to 25%. 

Museums and libraries will also be allowed to reopen at the beginning of May at 25% capacity, he said, and all state-licensed health care professionals can reopen offices with precautions beginning May 1. He added that the state is working to reopen child care facilities and summer camps as quickly as possible. 

“We will open in a way that uses safe standards,” he said. “Standards based upon data and doctors.”

More than 1.9 million unemployment claims have been filed since the outbreak began and the state has paid out more than $2 billion, Abbott said. 

“Our goal is to get those Texans back to work,” he added.

This is breaking news. Check back here for updates.

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