ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) The City of Abilene is relaxing their Shelter in Place order, beginning to open the local economy Friday under direction of Governor Greg Abbott.
City council held the first part of an emergency meeting Thursday morning to discuss the first phase of reopening, which will following Governor Abbott’s plan announced earlier this week.
During a second session Thursday afternoon, council members voted to relax some of Abilene’s restrictions to go along with the government order, by extending the local emergency disaster declaration. Council member Weldon Hurt was the only member to vote against the local disaster declaration.
Restaurants, movie theaters, shopping malls, in-store retail sales, museums and libraries, will all be allowed to serve customers if they operate at 25% capacity.
Golf, basketball, tennis, and other outdoor sports will be allowed as well as long as participants practice social distancing guidelines and limit their games to no more than 4 people.
Other businesses, such as bars, gyms, hair salons, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, piercing parlors, music venues, and pools will remain closed for at least the next two weeks.
Visitors will not allowed into nursing homes, state supported living centers, hospitals, and other long-term care facilities.
Playground equipment and splash pads will be closed as well, but city officials are hopeful they will included in Phase Two of Governor Abbott’s ReOpen Texas plan.
City offices will remain closed, but the Zoo and two branches of the library – South and Main – are expected to reopen May 18.
These relaxed restrictions don’t mean people shouldn’t still try to stay at home, in fact people over the age of 65 are now required to do-so as much as possible.
Governor Abbott suggests only venturing out when necessary, for essential items or activities.
Social distancing guidelines, such as standing 6 feet apart, avoiding groups of more than 10 people, and limiting exposure to people outside one’s household, are still in effect.
These relaxed restrictions will be in place through at least May 15, when Governor Greg Abbott is expected to announce Phase Two of his ReOpen Texas plan.
BigCountryHomepage will provide more information as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Mayor Williams posted the following on Facebook:
Below you will find a summary of Abilene’s extension of the Declaration of Local Disaster. This order coincides with the Governor’s Executive Order GA-18.
1. On April 27th, the Governor of the State of Texas issued his Executive Order, GA-18, which expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
2. The City of Abilene will adopt and incorporate the restrictions of the Governor’s Executive Order into its Extension of Declaration of Local Disaster to be adopted today. Today’s Declaration will replace all prior Declarations and restriction issued by the City of Abilene.
These restrictions, in line with the Governor’s Executive Order, are:
3. Every person in Texas shall, except where necessary to provide or obtain essential services or reopened services, minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. Persons over the age of 65 are strongly encouraged, but not required, to stay at home as much as possible.
4. Essential businesses, as determined by the US Department of Homeland Security, remain open.
The following applies to re-opened, non-essential services:
a. In-store retail service is allowed, but businesses may only allow customers into their stores at any one time up to 25% of their total listed capacity.
b. Dine-in restaurant service is allowed, but only for restaurants that have less than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Also, those restaurants may only allow customers into their restaurants at any one time up to 25% of their total listed capacity. Valet service is not allowed, except for persons with disabilities.
c. Restaurants that have 51% or more of their gross receipts from the sale of alcohol may continue to provide services by drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.
d. Movie theaters may operate, but may only allow customers into each individual theater up to 25% of the individual theater’s total capacity for any screening.
e. Shopping malls may allow customers into the mall up to 25% of the total capacity of the mall. However, food-court areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed.
f. Museums and libraries may allow customers up to 25% of the total capacity of the museum or library. However, public museums and libraries may only operate if allowed by the local government. Interactive functions or exhibits, and child play areas, must remain closed.
g. Services provided by an individual working alone in an office is allowed.
h. Golf courses are open.
i. Local government operations may open as determined by the local government.
5. Religious services are allowed in accordance with the guidance provided by the Attorney General and the Governor (they must designate separate areas for “at-risk” persons to participate or provide them separate services, two empty seats – or 6 feet separation – between persons not in same household, and skip/sit on every other row).
6. The following businesses and services are closed: bars, gyms, public swimming pools, interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys and video arcades, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons (hair salons & nail salons).
7. People are not prohibited from accessing essential services or reopened services or engaging in essential daily activities, visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging, bicycling, or other outdoor sports, so long as they engage in social distancing and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.
8. People may not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living centers, or long-term care facilities.
9. People are encouraged to wear masks, but are not required to do so.
10. The following persons are required to self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days: (1) persons who are sick or are currently experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath. These persons may leave their home to seek medical care.
11. If any member of a household has tested positive for COVID-19, all persons in the household should follow CDC recommended guidelines to protect themselves from exposure and to protect the public from further community spread.
This Order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, April 30th, and extends through May 15, 2020, to coincide with the Governor’s Executive Order GA-18.
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