Businesses that were permitted to open under the previous phases can continue to operate at the designated occupancy levels and under the minimum standard health protocols provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” said Governor Abbott. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business. I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”
Texas has undergone three phases of reopening. Bars, restaurants, museums, hair salons, youth camps, movie theaters, museums and more have been allowed to reopen with some restrictions on capacity and the requirement to follow certain health protocols.
Phase III, which was announced June 3, allowed retailers to accommodate 50% capacity immediately, and the same applied to bars as long as patrons are seated. Starting June 12, restaurants were allowed to serve groups as large as 10 and could expand to 75% total capacity. It also allows for outdoor Fourth of July celebrations of 500 or more at the discretion of local officials.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the state is facing a “massive outbreak” in the coronavirus pandemic as the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations hit record highs, and that some new local restrictions may be needed to protect hospital space for new patients.
Texas health officials reported a record-high 5,551 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, and another record of 4,389 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Texas also reported 29 new fatalities and saw its rate of positive tests reach 10.4%, its highest level since mid-April when Texas was still under stay-at-home orders.
Texas had just passed the 4,000 mark of daily new cases over the weekend and has seen cases and hospitalizations surge since then.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.