Bars, bowling alleys and bingo halls. They are some of the latest businesses that are allowed to reopen Friday across Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday these businesses would be allowed to operate Friday at 25 percent capacity under phase two of his Open Texas plan to restart the economy.
Other businesses allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity are skating rinks, rodeos, zoos and aquariums. The San Antonio Zoo announced this week that annual pass holders will be able to visit the zoo starting May 29-31 for a pass holder-only weekend.
Meanwhile, restaurants can now operate at 50 percent capacity, up from the 25 percent that was allowed under phase one.
There are several recommendations from the state as bars reopen.
- Dancing and other close-contact interactions are discouraged.
- No more than six people can be seated per table and bars need to seat all customers.
- Tables should be socially distanced and the bar should be blocked off from patrons.
- Bars should also provide disposable food menus and single-use glasses.
For all these businesses, interactive areas like arcade games should stay closed.
For bowling alleys, skating rinks and bingo halls, these businesses must keep customers six feet apart, including six feet between bowling lanes and customers playing bingo.
Bowling balls and skates need to be disinfected after each use.
These re-openings come on the heels of other businesses that resumed operations this week including day care and childcare centers, gyms and personal care services like massage and tattoo parlors.
As Abbott ramps up re-openings, San Antonio health officials say its too early to tell how this will affect COVID-19 cases in Bexar County and across the state.
Dr. Ruth Berggren with UT-Health San Antonio says there are a few warning indicators.
“The warning indicators are a decrease in the time to the doubling of cases, an increase in the stress of the hospital,” said Berggren. “The other warning indicator that’s important is to look at the percentage of the cases in a community that are positive, and right now, we have seen a low percentage and a declining percentage.”
Doctors and health officials will continue to watch for those rises which determines if we need to tighten restrictions again.
“I think that not everybody in San Antonio is rushing out to ease those restrictions,” said Berggren. “And it’s mixed. Some people haven’t been taking it too seriously, but the majority have."
Abbott said the next round of re-openings in Texas will be May 31, when youth summer camps are permitted to reopen and certain professional sports can resume without spectators.