Texas Reopens

Texas Reopens

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On May 18, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas would move into Phase Two of his plan to reopen business in Texas. Under Phase Two, many Phase One businesses are allowed to increase capacity to 50 percent, additional businesses are allowed to open at 25 percent and the Texas Department of State Health Services has updated minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow.

The Governor also outlined dates for future openings and occupancy guidelines, including:

Effective May 18

  • Childcare facilities may reopen.
  • Youth clubs may resume meeting. Indoor meetings should not exceed more than 10 individuals at any time and a 6-foot distance between individuals must be maintained.
  • Gyms may reopen provided they abide by the 25 percent occupancy rule and disinfect equipment after each use. Additionally, people who are working out must wear gloves and practice social distancing. Shower and locker room facilities at gyms will not be allowed to reopen at this time.
  • Indoor swimming pools may remain open provided they operate at no more than 25 percent of the capacity of the facility. Outdoor pools may remain open and operate at no more than 25 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the pool operator.
  • Churches and other places of worship may remain open. Attendees are encouraged to practice social distancing when possible. When maintaining 6 feet of separation is not feasible, other methods should be utilized to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a face covering or mask, washing or sanitizing hand frequently, and avoiding sharing utensils or other common objects.

Effective May 22

  • Restaurants may begin operating at up to 50 percent capacity.
  • Bars, craft breweries, wine tasting rooms, bowling alleys and bingo halls may reopen at up to 25 percent capacity.

Effective May 31

  • Professional sports may resume competitions with no spectators.
  • Youth day camps and overnight camps may resume operations.
  • Youth sports leagues may resume practicing without spectators other than one parent or guardian as needed.

Effective June 1

  • School districts may begin in-person summer school.

    Effective June 15

  • Youth sports leagues may begin holding games/competitions. Spectators should maintain at least 6 feet social distancing from individuals not within the spectator’s group.

For more information on Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas business, including safety checklists for reopening, visit https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.

Open Texas Checklists

Effective May 18, 2020

New, Now in Effect as of May 18, 2020

New, In Effect May 22, 2020

New, In Effect May 31, 2020

Gov. Abbott said no decision has been made on when theme parks will reopen.

For more information on Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas business, including safety checklists for reopening, visit https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.

Governor's Website


Top 10 Tips to Protect Employees’ Health

Healthy employees are crucial to your business. Here are 10 ways to help them stay healthy.

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Develop policies that encourage sick employees to stay at home without fear of reprisals, and ensure employees are aware of these policies. Have conversations with employees about their concerns. Some employees may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
Develop other flexible policies for scheduling and telework (if feasible) and create leave policies to allow employees to stay home to care for sick family members or care for children if schools and childcare close. Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about their plans. Discuss the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
Promote etiquette for coughing and sneezing and handwashing. Provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, soap and water, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Plan to implement practices to minimize face-to-face contact between employees if social distancing is recommended by your state or local health department. Actively encourage flexible work arrangements such as teleworking or staggered shifts.
Perform routine environmental cleaning. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, handrails, and doorknobs. Discourage sharing of tools and equipment, if feasible. Consider the need for travel and explore alternatives. Check CDC’s Travelers’ Health for the latest guidance and recommendations. Consider using teleconferencing and video conferencing for meetings, when possible.
Provide education and training materials in an easy to understand format and in the appropriate language and literacy level for all employees, like fact sheets and posters. If an employee becomes sick while at work, they should be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home immediately. Follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting areas the sick employee visited.


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Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

Properly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch services in your workspace is an important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting.


  • Clean surfaces using soap and water. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.

  • High touch surfaces include: Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.


  • Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.

  • Follow the instructions on the disinfectant’s label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.

  • Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface.
    • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
    • Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.

  • Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol may also be used.

Clean hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.

  • Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick.

  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

  • Additional key times to clean hands include:
    • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After using the restroom
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • After contact with animals or pets
    • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

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Water Safety Advisory

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.

Stagnant water in plumbing systems can harbor bacteria or higher concentrations of some metals that can 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 and Prevention (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. 

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html

AWWA:  https://www.awwa.org/Resources-Tools/Resource-Topics/Coronavirus#lt-10681543-shutoffs-and-return-to-service-guidance

Purdue:  https://engineering.purdue.edu/PlumbingSafety/covid19/building-water-safety-study