Governor Abbott Announces Next Steps in the Phased Reopening of Texas

May 18, 2020 | Insights

By Kate Goodrich

Today, as planned, Governor Abbott announced the next wave of statewide reopenings designed to restart the Texas economy during the Coronavirus pandemic. Abbott began the phased reopening of the state 18 days ago by gradually reopening restaurants, stores, movie theaters, and malls at 25% capacity. On May 7th, Gov. Abbott amended a prior order to allow barbershops and salons to reopen immediately under certain safety restrictions. Monday, May 18th was the first day gyms and non-essential manufacturers and office workplaces were allowed to open up, also under restrictions.

Today’s executive order delayed for one week the implementation of the new reopening regulations in two Texas COVID-19 hotspots, the Amarillo and El Paso areas.

Some notable developments to Phase Two of the Governor’s Plan to Reopen Texas include:

  • Beginning immediately, childcare facilities, massage establishments, and personal-care services, may begin to reopen. Additionally, offices can resume operations with occupancy at the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce.
  • Beginning on Friday, May 22nd, bars, wine tasting rooms, craft breweries, and bowling alleys can resume operations under 25% occupancy. Dine-in restaurants that opened in the previous phase may expand capacity from 25% to 50%.
  • On May 31st, youth sports camps and sports leagues may resume operations. Parents are allowed to watch those events provided they observe social distancing practices. Certain professional sporting events may also begin to reopen, without fans, as soon as the end of May.

Additional details and safety guidelines are available here, and further analysis of prior reopening orders can be found at Additional analysis of Governor Abbott’s May 18th order, GA-23, will be available on Tuesday, May 19th.

Meet Kate

Kate Goodrich is a governmental affairs consultant in Jackson Walker’s Austin office. She started her career as a federally registered lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and grew to become a senior advisor to legislators at the Texas Capitol. Kate’s background in state and federal government gives her an in-depth and practical knowledge of the legislative and appropriations processes. She is a respected member of the governmental affairs community and has forged deep relationships at the Capitol and beyond. Kate graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and is licensed to practice law in the state of Texas.

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Please note: This article and any resources presented on the Jackson Walker Coronavirus microsite do not constitute legal or medical advice.