Restaurants, retail stores, malls, theaters and museums can reopen Friday with limited occupancy, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday.
The plan comes as the number of recoveries from the coronavirus in Texas will exceed the number of active cases of the disease, Abbott said.
Businesses can reopen with just 25% occupancy Friday, the day after the statewide stay-at-home order expires. If there is not a spike in cases over the following two weeks, then those businesses can expand to 50% occupancy.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, at least 197 people have died from COVID-19 since the first case was reported locally in March.
Abbott also said he hopes to open barbershops, bars, hair salons and gyms "as soon as possible." He aims to have them open by mid-May.
Some businesses, however, have already said they will not reopen on Friday.
Texas movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse tweeted Monday that opening safely "is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly."
Plano-based Cinemark told WFAA Monday it is not wavering from its tentatively projected July reopen date, and Heim Barbecue in Fort Worth tweeted Monday it would not reopen its dining rooms.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also disagreed with Abbott's order.
Top updates for Monday, April 27:
- Global markets are gaining as more economies prepare to reopen. The question now is how long will the economic slump last, even with reopening measures.
- Many small businesses weren't able to secure loans from the Paycheck Protection Program before funding ran out, while large businesses were. Business owners are now eyeing a second round of funding hopefully.
Tarrant County reports 72 new cases
More than 2,000 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Tarrant County since the first case in the county was reported about a month and a half ago, health officials said.
The county added 72 new cases Monday, for a total of 2,019, with 165 people hospitalized currently.
The new numbers come after the county had more than 110 new daily cases for four straight days, though Monday numbers are sometimes lower due to less testing or reporting on Sundays. Time will tell if the decline becomes a long-term trend.
No new deaths were reported and recoveries stand at 289 people so far.
While only 19% of cases have been among those over the age of 65 in the county, 60% of people who died from the disease were in that age range, county data shows.
Across North Texas, at least 197 people have died in connection to the disease since the outbreak began.
2 more deaths, 91 new cases in Dallas County
Two more Dallas County residents have died from COVID-19 as 91 new cases were reported Monday, according to health officials. The county's total case count now stands at 3,105, with 84 deaths.
A Dallas man in his 40s who had been critically ill at an area hospital was one of the victims. The other was a woman in her 70s who had been a resident of a Richardson long-term care facility. She was critically ill before she died at a local hospital.
Across Dallas County, about 40% of all COVID-19 deaths have been associated with long-term care facilities, health officials said.
“Today’s numbers do not take into account any cases from labs that were closed on Sunday. After we see numbers for tomorrow and Wednesday, we should get a glimpse into which way this week is trending," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said with the announcement of the new numbers.
41 cases reported at Paris nursing home, authorities say
Between staff and residents, 41 people associated with the Paris Healthcare Nursing Home have tested positive for COVID-19, officials with the Paris-Lamar County Health District announced Sunday.
Cases increased from 19 on Saturday to 50 Sunday for Lamar County, health officials said. The increase came after a drive-thru testing site was set up on Saturday. The 41 cases from the nursing home make up the bulk of county's outbreak.
Of the 50 cases, seven are believed to be travel-related while 43 are from community spread, officials said.
Nineteen patients are in the 60 to 69 age range, while seven are between the ages of 70 and 79. Eight people who have tested positive are 80 years or older.
There are also seven people who are between 50 and 59, four people between 40 and 49, three people between 30 and 39 and two people between 20 and 29 with the disease. Officials did not say who among them, if any, had additional underlying conditions that put them at a higher risk.
All of those who have tested positive have been notified and immediately quarantined, according to officials, who are strongly recommending people wear masks in public.
"This virus has seemed distant to most people in our community. It was happening elsewhere," Mayor Steve Clifford wrote on Facebook. "Now we know that many people who were infected with the virus and had no symptoms have been in numerous public places throughout our community. And most of the people in our community are still not wearing masks."
Clifford also announced that county health resources would be diverted to containing the spread from the "massive outbreak" at the nursing home, prompting further drive-thru testing scheduled for later this week to be postponed.
Dallas hospital beds fuller than last week
A week ago, 52% of hospital beds in the city of Dallas were occupied. Now, 56% are, data from Mayor Eric Johnson's office shows.
The same rise over the past week can be seen in the number of ICU beds and ventilators available. Last week, 58% of ICU beds were full, compared with this week's 63%. And for ventilators, 35% of those in the city are currently in use, compared with last week's 31%.
The total number of ICU beds and ventilators remained the same from week to week, though the overall number of hospital beds actually decreased by 18 over the past week.
A total of 25 hospitals reported ventilator and bed capacity numbers Sunday.
The daily numbers are required under an emergency regulation that Johnson announced last month during a news conference.
Below is a list released by the Dallas mayor's office of the aggregated totals from 25 hospitals in the city:
- Total beds: 5,693
- Beds occupied: 3,211
- Total ICU beds: 827
- ICU beds occupied: 524
- Total ventilators: 942
- Ventilators in use: 333
Health experts recommend taking the following actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Practice "social distancing" and stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid large public gatherings
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the U.S.
WFAA digital producer Jake Harris, digital executive producer Tasha Tsiaperas and director of digital content Elizabeth Wiley contributed to this report.
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