April 28, 2020
Open Texas: Phase I
On April 17, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order GA-16 establishing the "Open Texas Strike Force." On Monday, April 28, under the recommendations of the Strike Force team, Governor Abbott announced the first phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase I, certain services and activities are allowed to open with limited occupancy, and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is issuing minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow. The Governor also outlined special guidance for Texans over 65 and detailed a comprehensive mitigation plan for nursing homes in Texas. The Governor also announced a statewide testing and tracing program developed by DSHS that will help public health officials quickly identify and test Texans who contract COVID-19 and mitigate further spread of the virus.
Executive Order GA-18 authorizes all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls to reopen on Friday, May 1. These services must limit their capacity to 25% of their listed occupancy. Within shopping malls, the food-court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed.
All museums and libraries may open under the same 25% occupancy limitation, but interactive areas of museums must remain closed. State libraries and museums will open by May 1, and local public museums and libraries may reopen only if permitted by the local government. Single-person offices may reopen as well.
Following social distancing guidelines, religious services may continue to resume with increased capacity and outdoor sports such as golf and tennis may resume with no more than four participants in a match.
Churches and places of worship remain open. Outdoor sports are allowed to resume so long as no more than four participants are playing together at one time. Social distancing practices must also be followed. Local government operations, including county and municipal government operations relating to permitting, recordation, and document-filing services, may reopen as determined by the local government.
Phase I will continue until at least May 18. The Governor will continue to evaluate next steps for the state. Phase II could be implemented as early as May 18.
Public swimming pools, bars, gyms, cosmetology salons, massage establishments, interactive amusement venues, such as bowling alleys and video arcades, and tattoo and piercing studios will remain closed through Phase I. Nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities must remain closed to visitors unless to provide critical assistance.
Click here to access the Governor's Report to Open Texas.
Reopening of Town Facilities
Water Safety advisory related to business reopenings
As state, county and local officials begin to prepare to allow for some businesses and facilities to reopen, health officials and water experts are advising building owners and managers to take steps to ensure water safety in buildings that have been closed the past several weeks.
Stagnate water in plumbing systems could harbor bacteria or higher concentrations of some metals that could be present in building plumbing systems. Under normal occupancy and water use conditions, water flows through these plumbing systems and is kept fresh and healthy, avoiding the harmful effects of stagnant water. The fix for stagnant water in plumbing it to flush it through building pipes and replace it with fresh water from a connected public water system prior to re-opening a building or facility.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and Purdue University’s Center for Plumbing Safety have resources available to help building owners, facility managers and local water providers prepare for the resumption of operations.
COVID-19: Highest number of new cases and deaths reported in Dallas County
- A 17 year-old girl who was a resident of the City of Lancaster, and expired at an area hospital ED;
- A man in his 30’s who was a resident of the City of Dallas, and expired at an area hospital ED;
- A man in his 30’s who was a resident of the City of Garland, and had been critically ill in an area hospital;
- A man in his 40’s who was a resident of the city of Carrollton, and had been critically ill in an area hospital;
- A man in his 40’s who was a resident of the city of Lancaster, and had been critically ill in an area hospital;
- A man in his 60’s who was an inmate at a state correctional facility, and had been hospitalized;
- A man in his 70’s who was a resident of the city of Dallas, and had been critically ill in an area hospital;
- A woman in her 70’s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the city of Dallas, and had been critically ill in an area hospital;
- A man in his 80’s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the city of Dallas, who expired in the facility; and
- A man in his 90’s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the city of Dallas, and had been hospitalized.
Of cases requiring hospitalization who reported employment, about 77% have been critical infrastructure workers, with a broad range of affected occupational sectors, including: healthcare, public health, food and agriculture, public works, and other essential functions. Of cases requiring hospitalization, most have been either over 60 years of age or have had at least one known high-risk chronic health condition. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Of the 94 total deaths reported to date, about 40% have been associated with long-term care facilities.
New cases are being reported as a daily aggregate, with a more detailed summary report updated Tuesdays and Fridays.
“Today ties for our deadliest day thus far in the COVID-19 pandemic in Dallas County. The residents who died yesterday range in age from a teenager in Lancaster to a man in his 90s who was long-term care facility resident in Dallas. Today also ranked as the highest day of new reported cases in Dallas," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
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