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Texas Sets Another Coronavirus Record, Even as Phase 3 Reopening Gets Underway

New cases of coronavirus continue to surge in Texas, breaking yet another record, even as most of the state entered the third phase of Governor Gregg Abbott’s reopening plan.

Texas Reports 1,801 New COVID-19 Case in Single Day

More than 48,690 COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in Texas as of this morning, including 1,347 fatalities.  The state reported 1,801 new cases on Saturday — the biggest single-day jump since the pandemic began.

The new record wasn’t enough to delay Phase 3 of Texas’s reopening, as gyms and other fitness facilities, non-essential manufacturing, and office-based businesses in most areas of the state were given the go-ahead to resume operations on Monday.

Texas officially restarted its economy a little over two weeks ago, when retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls were permitted to reopen their doors. Barbershops, hair and nail salons, and tanning beds and other personal care businesses resumed operations just a week later, as Phase 2 of Governor Abbott’s reopening plan got underway.

For the time being, all of these businesses must operate at 25% capacity and follow other social distancing and sanitizing guidelines established by the state.

Where Texas is Headed Next

The next phase of Abbott’s reopening plan begins on Friday, when bars, breweries, bowling alleys, skating rinks, zoos, aquariums and bingo halls will be allowed to open at 25% capacity. That same day, restaurants will be permitted to increase their capacity to 50%.

Day and night youth camps, little league programs, vocational bible schools and professional sports without in-person spectators will be permitted to resume operations on May 31st. And on June 1st, Texas school districts will be permitted to conduct summer school classes, provided they have social distancing measures in place.

As more of the state reopens, Texans are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks and limiting contact with others. Seniors and those with compromised immune systems should continue to remain at home as much as possible.

“COVID-19 still exists in Texas,” Abbott said on Monday. “It is a fact that these safe practices save lives.”

Amarillo and El Paso Remain Coronavirus Hot Spots

Although most of Texas is rushing to get back to business, the Governor announced that five counties identified as new coronavirus hot spots won’t enter the next stage of reopening until at least May 29th.

Four of those counties — Randall (which includes the city of Amarillo), Potter, Deaf Smith and Moore — all have higher per capita coronavirus rates than any of Texas’ large metro areas. Meanwhile, El Paso County just came off six days of record deaths and continues to see daily confirmed cases rise by double digits.

“In a state the size of Texas, a one-size-fits-all policy does not always work,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “Keeping Amarillo and the community at the current reopening level for seven days is prudent and appropriate as we continue to address the spread of this illness in our community.”

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