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Monday, 18 May 2020 21:33

What We Know About TX’s Economic Reopening, and What Might Be Coming Next

Written by Raga Justin, The Texas Tribune


Pools, meanwhile, must also follow 25% capacity restrictions.


Gyms, nonessential manufacturers and offices were allowed to open May 18. Gyms can only reopen at 25% capacity, and their showers and locker rooms should remain closed, while all equipment must be disinfected after each use. Customers should wear gloves that cover their entire hands, including fingers. Customers should maintain social distancing. And if customers bring their own equipment, such as yoga mats, into the gym, that equipment must be disinfected before and after each use.


Office buildings can open with five or fewer workers or with 25% of the workforce, whichever is greater. Manufacturers that have been deemed nonessential can also reopen May 18, as long as they limit their occupancy to 25%.


On May 18, Abbott announced reopening plans for childcare centers, bars and sporting events.


Does the data support reopening?


Since reopening, Texas has seen a modest but steady increase in the growth of new coronavirus cases, and the state is not meeting all benchmarks for reopening set by White House officials or even Abbott himself. The state set new daily records this week for both new cases and deaths.


The governor has pointed to the state's low hospitalization and positive test rates as reasons for optimism. But the state has fallen short of Abbott's goal to reach 30,000 tests per day. And experts said late last week that the state likely has yet to see a peak in its death rate. Experts also worry the state will see a resurgence in new infections in the summer and fall if millions of employees return to work without proper precautions, such as widespread workplace testing and robust surveillance of fever and other symptoms.


On May 16, the state reported the highest number of new cases in a single day. More than 700 of them were reported around Amarillo, where there is a cluster of infections tied to meatpacking plants.


We thank The Texas Tribune for reprint permission. 

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