Gov. Greg Abbott to let restaurants, movie theaters and malls open with limited capacity Friday
The Texas Tribune
Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he will let the state’s stay-at-home order expire Thursday as scheduled and allow businesses to begin reopening in phases the next day, the latest ramp-up in his push to restart the Texas economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
First to open Friday: retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls. But they will only be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Museums and libraries will also be allowed to open at 25% capacity, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed.
Abbott said a second phase of business reopenings could come as soon as May 18 – as long as the state sees “two weeks of data to confirm no flare-up of COVID-19.” That second phase would allow businesses to expand their occupancy to 50%, according to the governor.
UT/TT poll: Texas voters overwhelmingly back business closures and stay-at-home orders
By a wide margin, Texas voters approve of the widespread business closures and statewide stay-at-home order even though the economy is taking a catastrophic hit, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Those findings come as Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans to reopen a wide range of Texas businesses.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has suggested that saving the economy is more important than responding to the coronavirus. But after first making that suggestion last month, Patrick has experienced an uptick in disapproval among two groups: registered voters over 65 and independents.
“Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training. This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly,” the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema tweeted.
Federal judge rules against releasing Dallas County inmates
A federal judge has denied an emergency request by the ACLU to release some Dallas County jail inmates during the pandemic.
U.S. District Judge Ada Brown said in her Monday ruling that an explanation for her denial would come later. Earlier this month, Dallas County inmates, represented by the ACLU and other civil rights attorneys, sued for the release of jail inmates over 50 or with medical conditions.
As of Sunday, 141 inmates at the Dallas County jail had tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
– Clare Proctor and Ross Ramsey/The Texas Tribune contributed to this report