Texas Governor Says Restaurants — But Not Bars — Can Open on May 1 — Updated

Governor Greg Abbott

In a mid-afternoon press conference, Texas governor Greg Abbott said that he’s allowing his stay-at-home order to expire as planned at midnight on April 30. On May 1, restaurants are allowed to resume dine-in services — but only at 25% of the stated occupancy, which is a number initially determined by the local fire marshal before a restaurant opens. The order states, “As used in executive order GA-18, this applies only to restaurants that are not required to post the 51% sign required by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.”

Bars, however, (as well as salons and gyms) are not allowed to open on May 1. Abbott said that, at this time, his advisors have not been able to determine a safe way for those businesses to reopen. According to Abbott, these types of businesses often have customers who are “very close to each other.”

If the number of new coronavirus cases in Texas continues to decline, bars may be allowed to reopen May 18. That is also the time when Abbott may allow restaurant occupancy to increase to 50%. There is not yet a stated timeline for when restaurants can return to normal operations.

Abbott says that a book of guidelines titled Open Texas has been produced and it is available online. The initial link provided by Abbott at the press conference is not currently working; we will update with a link as soon as it is available.

In addition, Abbott says that this is permission for restaurant owners to open, not a requirement, and they should not open if they do not feel safe to do so.

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

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