This Monday, offices, manufacturing facilities and gyms are allowed to open in Texas, following the guidelines published by Gov. Greg Abbott in his May 6 executive order. As it already happened with other businesses, these facilities will be limited in their capacity.
Offices will be able to operate with up to five employees at a time or 25% of the total office workforce — whichever number is greater — provided they maintain social distancing and follow other health measures like wearing face coverings. The governor’s task force is still asking employers to encourage employees to work from home if possible and implement alternate schedules for those who go into the office.
Non-essential manufacturing facilities will be able to operate at 25% occupancy. The governor’s task force asks manufacturing facilities to provide physical dividers if keeping workers 6 feet apart isn’t possible. Workers should also wear face coverings and be provided disinfecting products like hand sanitizer and wipes. The governor’s task force asks manufacturers with more than 10 workers at a time to choose a person in charge of enforcing health protocols.
Gyms and exercise facilities will be able to open on Monday too, at 25% occupancy, not counting workers. Lockers and showers will have to remain closed. Workout equipment should be spaced out to allow at least 6 feet between patrons, and cleaning supplies should be provided. Patrons should wear gloves that fully cover their wrists and fingers while exercising and should wear face masks. They should also clean off machines and exercise equipment like free weights after use and sanitize any equipment brought from home. Gym-goers should keep a 6-foot distance from anybody 65 and older, though these individuals are advised to stay home.
Since May 6, beauty services — including barbershops, salons and tanning beds — have been allowed to function under recommendations like offering services that are not time consuming and keeping workstations 6 feet apart. Workers can refuse to serve anybody they suspect to be sick or contagious and it is recommended to screen workers and customers for symptoms.
Indoor and outdoor swimming pools were also allowed to operate at 25% capacity starting May 6. Interactive water venues, like water parks and splash pads, are still closed.
Retail stores, malls, movie theaters and restaurants have been allowed to open at 25% capacity since May 1.
People that violate orders can’t face jail time, but they can be cited and fined.
The next phase of the process could include allowing some businesses to open at 50% capacity. Abbott may outline the next steps in a Monday press conference. — Juan Pablo Garnham
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