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Posted on: March 19, 2020

Gov Abbott announces air travel restrictions lifted as part of Phase II to open Texas

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On May 21, Gov Abbott issued Executive Order GA-24 terminating air travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor’s new order immediately terminates all restrictions contained in the Governor’s previous Executive Order GA-20 that mandated temporary quarantines for air travelers arriving in Texas from California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; or Miami, Florida. 

On May 18, Gov Abbott issued Executive Order GA-23 establishing Phase II of Texas’ ongoing plan to safely open businesses and activities in Texas with restrictions to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  As stated in the Executive Order, the following services and activities may open under Phase II:

May 18 - Child Care Centers, Massage and Personal-Care Centers and Youth Clubs. Businesses located in office buildings may also open but must limit their occupancy to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce.  Non-CISA manufacturing facilities may operate up to 25% of the facility’s total listed occupancy.

May 22 - Rodeo and Equestrian Events, Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, Skating Rinks, Aquariums and Natural Caverns (25% of occupancy), Bars (open at 25% occupancy), and Restaurants may expand their occupancy to 50%.

May 29 - Zoos ( 25% of the normal operating limits) 

May 31 - Day Youth Camps, Overnight Youth Camps, Youth Sports, and certain professional sports without in-person spectators. 

Opened services and activities under Phase II are all required to operate under certain occupancy limits and health/safety protocols. For details and a full list of guidelines, openings, and relevant dates, visit

Gov Abbott stated, "By continuing to use safe practices, we are slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our most vulnerable. Now more than ever, we need to work together as one Texas. I ask all Texans to continue heeding the guidance of our state and federal medical experts and do their part to protect public health."

On May 12, Gov Abbott extended his Disaster Declaration for another 30 days as a state of disaster continues to exist in all counties due to COVID- 19.  

On May 5, Gov Abbott issued Executive Order GA-21 expanding business openings in Texas.  On May 8, businesses allowed to reopen include hair salons/barber shops, nail salons, tanning salons, wedding venues, and swimming pools.  On May 18, gyms, exercise classes, office buildings, and non-essential manufacturing services may open. These newly opened services are all required to operate under the guidelines/health protocols outlined in Gov Abbott’s Open Texas webpage. Texas Education Agency has also provided new guidance on class of 2020 graduation ceremonies for Texas school districts.  Please carefully read the executive order and guidelines as they provide very important information

On April 27, Gov Abbott issued three new executive orders, GA-18, GA-19 and GA-20 (effective May 1, 2020); establishing guidelines for Phase I of reopening Texas, reserving hospital capacity, and relaxing travel restrictions to/from Louisiana.

Gov Abbott has outlined his new plan to re-open Texas in a book titled “Texans Helping Texans.” The book provides guidelines/health protocols for individuals, employers, employees, and customers to follow as retail stores, restaurants, malls, movie theaters, and museums and libraries are allowed to reopen with restrictions. 

Please carefully read the executive orders and Texans Helping Texans as they provide very important information.

Gov Abbott stressed that we must continue to practice social distancing, avoid crowds, and limit physical contact. He also recommended using simple cloth face coverings in public to help slow the spread of the virus. 

On April 17, Gov Abbott issued executive orders; establishing the Strike Force to Open Texas, loosening restrictions on surgeries, allowing select services to reopen using a Retail-To-Go model, and closing schools for the rest of the school year. The Governor also directed state parks to reopen on Monday, April 20, with strict guidelines to reduce transmission of COVID-19 – including requiring visitors to wear face coverings, maintain a six-foot distance from individuals outside of their party, and prohibiting the gathering of groups larger than five. A summary can be read on the Governor’s website.

Stay up-to-date on the most current information of COVID-19 by visiting the Texas Department of State Health Services or the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Phase II to reopen Texas...
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