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Governor Abbott Announces Stay at Home Orders will Expire and a Phased Approach to Reopening the Texas Economy will Be Implemented

April 28, 2020

On April 27, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference confirming that he will allow the stay-at-home orders requiring the closure of non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 emergency to expire on April 30, 2020, and detailing a three-phase plan that will allow some Texas businesses to re-open beginning this Friday, May, 1, 2020. The details of “Phase 1” of the Open Texas Plan as implemented in three Executive Orders released yesterday (GA-18, GA-19 and GA-20) are outlined below:
Executive Order GA-18 : Relating to the expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
Effective May, 1, 2020, the following businesses may re-open throughout the State, but they may only be filled to 25% capacity: (a) retail stores; (b) restaurants; (c) malls; (d) movie theaters; and (e) museums and libraries (however, any interactive or hands-on exhibits must remain closed).
Businesses in counties that have five or fewer cases of COVID-19 may be filled to 50% capacity, unless they see an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Effective May 1, 2020, outdoor sports are allowed to be played so long as no more than four participants are playing together at one time and they play at a safe distance.
Effective immediately, individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings, but no jurisdiction can impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering.
Executive Order GA-19 : Relating to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 disaster. Effective May 1, 2020, Executive Order GA-15 is superseded by Executive Order GA-19, which states the following: “[a]ll licensed health care professionals shall be limited in their practice by, and must comply with, any emergency rules promulgated by their respective licensing agencies dictating minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID- 19 disaster.” The Texas Medical Board has not yet issued any emergency rules or guidance following Executive Order GA-19.
Effective May 1, 2020, every hospital licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health and Safety Code shall reserve at least 15% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVD-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVD-19 patients, as determined by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
Executive Order GA-20 : Relating to expanding travel without restrictions during the COVID-19 disaster.
Effective April 27, 2020, the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for individuals traveling from Louisiana is terminated; however, the mandated 14-day quarantine for travelers from the following areas remains in place: California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan, and Miami, Florida. 
We will continue to keep you updated as the Texas Medical Board and other licensing agencies issue emergency rules in response to Executive Order GA-19.  
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Joshua M. WeaverPhone: (214) 705-3516jweaver@weaverjohnston.comBoard Certified – Health LawTexas Board of Legal SpecializationSteve LitkePhone: (972) 427-7685slitke@weaverjohnston.comAshley E. JohnstonPhone: (214) 763-8296ajohnston@weaverjohnston.comBoard Certified – Health LawTexas Board of Legal SpecializationChris ReedPhone: (214) 705-3935creed@weaverjohnston.comJoseph E. NelsonPhone: (214) 705-3907jnelson@weaverjohnston.comBoard Certified – Health LawTexas Board of Legal SpecializationRachael Nelson GearingPhone: (469) 680-9609regearing@weaverjohnston.com
Kevin MitchellPhone: (469) 680-9049kmitchell@weaverjohnston.comStephanie TothPhone: (469) 480-9729stoth@weaverjohnston.comShannon CahalanPhone: (214) 938-9898scahalan@weaverjohnston.comPaul WehrmannPhone: (214) 957-0919pwehrmann@weaverjohnston.comVicki WanjuraPhone: (214) 587-6026vwanjura@weaverjohnston.com
The material contained in this email alert is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice nor is it intended to create and receipt does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel. The COVID-19 disaster, and the federal, state and local governmental response, is a fluid and rapidly involving situation, meaning the material contained herein may be subject to change.