Governor Abbott Announces Additional Texas Openings
Sept. 17, 2020 - Governor Greg Abbott announced additional reopening plans for Texas. The determining factor in reopening is based on the percentage of hospitalizations in each of the state’s 22 regions. If COVID Hospitalizations are less than 15% of all hospitalizations for 7 consecutive days, then that region is safe enough to allow additional openings. The percentage of hospitalizations in the Austin region is 3.7%. Therefore, our region can precede with the additional openings outlined below.
The following business categories that currently have a 50% capacity can increase to a 75% capacity on Monday, Sept. 21:
- All retail stores
- All restaurants
- All office buildings
- All manufacturing
- All Museums and Libraries
- All Gyms
Hospitals in the Austin region can return to ordinary elective surgical procedures.
Thursday, Sept. 24
The Governor announced new visitation guidance for eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice effective Thursday, September 24th. Under the new rules, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who will be provided necessary training to allow them to safely go inside a facility for a scheduled visit, including in the resident’s room, to help ensure their loved one’s physical, social, and emotional needs are being met. Designated caregivers will not be required to maintain physical distancing, but only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time.
A long-term care facility resident (or legal representative) can designate the essential caregiver, who can be a family member, friend, or other individual. Facilities are required to train essential caregivers on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control measures. Proper PPE must be used at all times during these scheduled visits, and the caregiver must test negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before the initial visit.
For general visitors who are not a designated essential caregiver, these updated emergency rules will allow approved facilities to schedule outdoor no contact visits, open window visits, or indoor visitation with the use of plexiglass safety barriers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical contact between residents and general visitors is not permitted. Facilities also must continue to meet all additional visitation requirements outlined in the emergency rules.
Bars are not allowed to open at this time. Governor Abbott says bars are nationally recognized as COVID-19 spreading locations. He said they are focused on finding ways to get them open.
Governor Abbott added that citizens must continue the following safety practices:
- Staying home if you are sick
- Sanitizing your hands
- Maintaining safe distances
- Wearing a mask
The Lower Rio Grande Valley, Victoria, and Laredo are not allowed to precede with additional openings due to the continued high percentage of COVID-19 Hospitalizations.