AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas has experienced its first weekend under Phase 1 of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to slowly reopen the state’s economy.
Abbott’s executive order allowed retailers, restaurants, libraries, museums and movie theaters to open with occupancy capped at 25 percent.
While the move may provide some desperately needed cash to Texas businesses, it doesn’t signal the tide has turned in our state in the battle against COVID-19.
As of Monday, according to the Texas Department of Health Services, our state has 31,548 confirmed cases of COVID-19. So far 867 people have died in Texas due to COVID-19. In Travis County alone, there are 1,714 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler over the past few days has been reminding people that the city’s Stay Home – Work Safe Order remains in effect through May 8. Whether it will be extended beyond that date remains to be seen.
While the state order supersedes city orders, several regulations and guidelines remain in effect in Austin.
Among other things, the Austin order requires people stay home except for essential activities and essential businesses. The order further requires people wear face coverings in public spaces when feasible.
While you cannot be cited for failing to wear a face covering, businesses are permitted to set their own policies for that protection.
Face coverings are required when entering a building open to the public, while using public transportation as well as taxis and ride shares, and when pumping gas. In addition, face coverings are required outside when six feet of distancing cannot be consistently maintained.
Face coverings are not required when riding in a personal vehicle, when one is alone in a separate single space or at home with people with whom you share a residence.
Parents and guardians are responsible for masking children under 10 years old outside the home.