COVID-19 Texas News for Lobbyists

Governor Abbott Announces Phase 2 Reopening of Businesses. On May 18th, Governor Abbott announced an executive order governing Phase 2 of the state’s reopening, subject to sanitation, distancing, and safety standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 which can be found at The order, effective until June 3, 2020, includes several key dates for businesses to reopen:

  • Immediately (May 18): Massage establishments, personal care and other grooming services not already open may reopen; child-care services other than youth camps may reopen.
  • May 22: Bars may open at 25% indoor capacity; restaurants may open at 50% indoor capacity. Aquariums, bowling alleys, and similar facilities may also operate at 25% capacity.
  • May 29: Outdoor areas of zoos may operate at 25% capacity; indoor areas must remain closed.
  • May 31: Youth camps and programs may return, including sports, summer, daytime, and overnight camps. Professional basketball, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, football, and auto racing may return without spectators.
  • June 1: School districts may offer summer school, specialized education, specialized assessments, and tutoring services.
  • June 15: Youth sports programs can begin competition.

Governor Abbott also postponed the implementation of Phase 2 guidelines by a week for the counties surrounding Amarillo & El Paso (Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter, and Randall counties), where cases of COVID-19 are increasing more rapidly and where hospital capacity is lower than in the rest of the state. For those counties, all services that were restored for other Texas counties on May 18 will instead reopen on May 29.

For more information on businesses included in the executive order and the guidelines for reopening, visit

Click here to read the governor’s executive order.