SAN ANTONIO – Citing low positive test rates and a steady hospitalization rate, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that nail salons, hair salons, barber shops and gyms can begin to open up later this month.
Starting May 8, cosmetology businesses can begin to reopen under social distancing guidelines and limited capacity.
“Every owner should use their own best judgement when it is going to be best to safely open,” Abbott said.
Starting May 18, gyms and exercise facilities can also open up under similar standards. People using the gyms should wear gloves, Abbott said, to reduce the chances of transmission. All equipment must be disinfected after each use, and showers and locker rooms will be closed.
It is still too soon to open bars, Abbott said, but state officials are working with local business owners to find ways to do it.
More than 33,000 Texans have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic first began, while more than 427,000 tests have been administered. As of May 5, 906 Texans have died of the virus.
Though the number of positive cases is rising, Abbott attributed it to increased testing and noted that the positive test rate is around 4.6%. He also said recoveries are outpacing new cases.
“We know as we begin opening up, we need to be prepared for flare-ups in certain regions,” Abbott said, acknowledging that as business picks up, so will the chance of contracting COVID-19. “I want you to know we are ready for that.”
He also encouraged Texans should continue practicing good hygiene and social distancing guidelines.
“It’s up to Texans whether or not we remain open,” Abbott said.
If cases skyrocket, Abbott said restrictions could be put back in place.
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