AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, May 5, Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update on what the state is doing in response to coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
During the press conference, Gov. Abbott announced barbershops, salons, tanning salons and nail salons can reopen Friday, May 8 in Texas. Abbott recommended using an appointment system only, but said if you allow walk-ins, make sure customers keep six feet of distance from each other. Stylists and customers are encouraged to wear face masks.
The governor also announced Texas gyms and exercise facilities may reopen starting May 18 at 25% capacity.
You may view the full press conference here:
Showers and locker rooms must remained closed at gyms during the first phase of reopening, according to Abbott. Equipment must be disinfected before and after use, and customers should wear gloves and keep six feet of distancing while inside, Abbott said.
Abbott said there was not a reopening date for bars in Texas. He said he'd like to hear from bar owners about their strategies they believe they can put in place to operate safely.
Non-essential manufacturers may also start business again starting May 18 with 25% occupancy and a staggered workflow so employees will not all be working at once, Abbott said.
Texas education officials announced three options for graduation ceremonies:
Outdoor ceremonies with social distancing between family groups
Hybrid ceremonies with one student at a time photographed receiving their diploma
Vehicle ceremonies with drive-by graduations, similar to the birthday parades that have become popular across the country
Gov. Abbott said 427,210 Texans have been tested for coronavirus as of May 5, and of those, 33,369 have tested positive. The governor said 19,000 people were tested on May 5 alone. Abbott said 906 Texans have died, there were 15,672 active cases and there were 1,888 hospitalizations as of May 5. 16,791 people have recovered from COVID–19, according to Abbott.
Abbott emphasized the "positivity rate" which is the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus compared to the overall amount of testing.
19,000 hospital beds were available statewide for coronavirus patients, 2,000 of those being ICU beds. Abbott said there were 6,600 ventilators available. Abbott said, in the coming days, the "number of available beds for coronavirus patients" should decrease as they are dedicated back to hospital patients with "other types of diseases and healthcare challenges."
"While we have been responding to every healthcare need of those who test positive for COVID-19, there have been some who have needed to be diagnosed for cancer ... for heart disease or some other type of physical ailment," Abbott said. "It is so important that anybody with any type of ailment whatsoever have access to doctors and hospitals and healthcare they need."
On May 1, some Texas businesses such as restaurants, retail stores and malls began to open their doors again as part of phase one Gov. Abbott’s plan to reopen the state. The next part of the governor's plan, phase two, could begin by May 18 and would allow even more businesses such as nail salons to reopen and expand the capabilities of phase one businesses.
Before phase two begins, Gov. Abbott said there must be two weeks of data showing that the virus is continuing to be contained.
The statewide stay home order is also no longer in effect. Gov. Abbott let the order expire on April 30.