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Abbott: 'Still too soon’ for bars to open in Texas

Governor says guidelines are still being established amid COVID-19 pandemic

Bartender Greg Anderson, left, pours drinks for customers on the first day Tuner's Bar and Grill has reopened after being closed in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus Monday, May 4, 2020, in St. Charles, Mo. Business in some parts of Missouri, including St. Charles, have been allowed to reopen on Monday after the state's stay-at-home order expired. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

While gyms and barber shops have a reopen date set, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said it is still too soon to reopen bars.

On Tuesday, Abbott said declining positive COVID-19 test rates along with steady hospitalization rate numbers have allowed the state to let nail salons and barbershops to open starting May 8, while gyms can begin to open on May 18.

Texas governor announces when nail salons, barber shops and gyms can open up

Those businesses have to maintain reduced occupancy and adhere to social distancing guidelines set out by state officials.

“Bars are another area we want to open,” Abbott said. “We know bar owners desperately need to open up.”

But because social distancing is difficult to maintain in a bar, Abbott said it’s “still too soon” to allow them to open.

However, he said state officials are working with local bar owners on finding ways to reopen. Abbott also acknowledged that different standards may apply to the bars depending on whether they are indoor or outdoor establishments.

In the meantime, Texans will have to keep social distancing to reduce the chances of COVID-19 flareups in parts of the state.

If infection rates rise again, Abbott said more restrictions could be put back in place.

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