Firm News

Reopening the Economy: Part 2

By Preston W. Rose
Attorney at McGuire, Craddock & Strother, P.C.
May 8, 2020

On May 5, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released additional statewide guidance pertaining to the reopening of the Texas economy.[1]  For a summary of Governor Abbott’s previous guidance, please see my earlier article: Reopening the Economy: Part 1 Some of Governor Abbott’s changes go into effect immediately, while others are slated to take effect on either May 8, 2020 or May 18, 2020.  A summary of the changes and updates is provided below.

Guidelines Immediately in Effect

  New Wedding Guidelines

• Ceremonies held at a church or place of worship are permitted to take place under the same rules that apply to worship services. 

• For ceremonies held indoors at a venue other than a church or place of worship, the venue may operate at up to 25 percent occupancy.

• Receptions are allowed to take place, but venues must stay within the guidelines and limit capacity to 25 percent occupancy. Capacity restrictions do not apply to outdoor areas of wedding receptions or to outdoor wedding receptions.

•   Governor Abbott clarified that people may visit parks, beaches, rivers, and lakes.

•   Occupancy limits that apply to dine-in restaurants do not apply to indoor areas of the restaurants.

Guidelines Taking Effect on May 8

Cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons/shops, and other similar establishments may resume operations. Such establishments must ensure at least six feet of distance between operating work stations.

Tanning salons may resume operations if they follow the same distancing guidelines above.

  Swimming pools may resume operations, subject to limitations. Indoor pools may only operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the pool facility. Outdoor pools may operate at up to 25 percent of the pool’s normal operating limits, as determined by the pool operator. Local public swimming pools are allowed to operate at up to 25 percent occupancy as well, but the local government has the last say on whether such pools are allowed to reopen.

Guidelines Taking Effect on May 18

  Offices are allowed to reopen at the greater of either five individuals or 25 percent of the total office workforce; provided, however, that individuals in the office must maintain appropriate social distancing.

  Non-essential manufacturing services may resume operations at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the facility.

  Gyms, exercise facilities, and exercise classes may resume operations at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the gym or exercise facility. During this initial stage, locker rooms and shower facilities must remain closed, but restrooms may open.

Conclusion

Governor Abbott’s latest Executive Order loosens additional restrictions on Texas businesses and firmly places Texas on a quicker path to reopening than many other states. Businesses should regularly review and abide by the latest local and state guidelines, including, if applicable, any updated guidance from Dallas County (keep in mind that, to the extent any local guidelines conflict with the state guidelines, the state guidelines will control). Business owners and leaders should also keep in mind that, while state and local guidelines may permit a business to reopen, the decision to reopen will be up to the business in most circumstances.

For more information or for advice on when, whether, and how a specific business may reopen, please contact Preston W. Rose at [email protected].

[1] Executive Order No. GA-21 may be found at:
https://lrl.texas.gov/scanned/govdocs/Greg%20Abbott/2020/GA-21.pdf.

This correspondence should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult a lawyer concerning your own situation and legal questions.