Governor Greg Abbott has officially announced that hair salons in Texas may reopen Friday, and gyms will be allowed to open on May 18, 2020. The businesses will be required to follow certain safety rules as Texas continues to battle on the coronavirus pandemic. Hairstylists are able to work with only one customer at a time. People waiting at barbershops will also have to maintain 6-foot separation or wait outside.
Meanwhile, all gyms will be required to operate at a maximum of 25 percent capacity. Locker rooms and shower rooms are said to be closed and equipment must be disinfected after each use. Although Abbott did acknowledge that people may want to see other businesses reopen, such as bars, he noted the state is still figuring out how they can do it safely. Unfortunately, Abbott did not offer any sort of timetable.
Through a press conference, the announcement came a week after he began what he described “Phase 1” of businesses reopening in Texas. Phase 1 allowed retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, and libraries to open with a 25 percent capacity limit. Since the announcement of initial businesses reopening, Abbott has faced criticism from some of his own party to give the green light to gyms and barbershops.
Despite the arguments, the Texas Governor said state officials strongly recommend that barbers, hairstylists, and those who get their haircuts wear masks. He stated, “They are very close to each other as that service is provided. The only safe way that you can go about providing that service … would be for both the person providing the service and the customer to be wearing face masks.”
Despite the reopening of the businesses, Gov. Abbott urged all Texans to continue to follow distancing guidelines. He noted if people stop using social distancing strategies that were utilized in the past month, it may cause an increase in COVID-19. He stated, “if this happens, it will lead to some counties having to impose stricter requirements.”
As of May 5, 2020, the number of COVID-19 cases in Texas increased to 33,369. Out of those there have been 906 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Coronavirus is present in 216 out of the state’s 254 counties. The number of tests conducted in Texas is 427,210.