Eight Days Later, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Rolls Back More Restrictions

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, ready to open things up.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, ready to open things up. Gage Skidmore
It looks like we're just going to go for it. Tuesday afternoon, after a week that included Texas' highest ever COVID-19 death total and Dallas County's five highest reports of novel coronavirus infections, Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans to reopen even more of the state's businesses.

Under new orders from the governor, salons, barbershops and tanning businesses will be allowed to reopen Friday. The governor will recommend that shops maintain social distancing, operate on an appointment-only basis, and have stylists, barbers and customers all wear masks.

On May 18, the state will allow gyms and exercise clubs to reopen at 25% capacity. The facilities' locker rooms and showers must remain closed.

Abbott did not announce plans for bars to reopen.

CDC guidelines issued by the White House last month say that states should have a 14-day decline in new cases before beginning to reopen. That isn't happening in Texas.
For the third time in as many days Tuesday, Dallas County reported its highest-ever new COVID-19 case count, with 263 more positive tests coming from Dallas County labs. Seven more Dallas County residents have died from the virus, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

As things reopen, even Abbott expects that cases will increase. During a conference call last week, according to a recording obtained by Scott Braddock's Quorum Report, the governor told elected officials what he expected over the coming weeks.

“How do we know reopening businesses won't result in faster spread of COVID-19?" Abbott said. "Listen, the fact of the matter is, pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening, whether you want to call it a reopening of business, or just a reopening of society, in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase in spread. It's almost ipso facto — the more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility there is of transmission. The goal never has been to get COVID-19 transmission down to zero.”
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young