AUSTIN, Texas — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott gave permission Monday to reopen practically every facet of daily life in Texas, including bars and child daycare centers, lifting most full lockdown orders as the state continues one of the nation’s swiftest reboots from coronavirus restrictions, the Associated Press is reporting.

Abbott’s sweeping new orders, which he described as a second phase in Texas’ reopening, allows zoos and bowling alleys to resume business and lets restaurants and retailers expand the number of customers by the end of the week. Reporter Jim Vertuno said they also set up the return of some professional sports, summer camps and summer school by June.

Abbott said social distancing measures must still be in place, such as limits on customers and no fans at sports events. Theme parks, however, remain closed.

The move pushes one of the world’s largest economies toward getting back to business as usual, even while the state has seen record numbers of daily new coronavirus cases and deaths. But Abbott has emphasized hospitalization rates that remain flat and infection rates that have dropped, even after Texas began lifting stay-at-home orders on May 1.

“We’ve seen no evidence, no signs, that raise any concerns about a possibility of retrenchment in Texas,” Abbott said.

Abbott did keep broad restrictions in two parts of Texas that are struggling with a surge of new cases, El Paso and Amarillo, for an additional week. He said the delay would give surge teams more time to get the flare-up of new cases under control.

Via the Governor’s Executive Order, the following services and activities may open under Phase II:

  • Child Care Centers (May 18)
  • Massage and Personal-Care Centers (May 18)
  • Youth Clubs (May 18)
  • Rodeo and Equestrian Events (May 22)
  • Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, and Skating Rinks (May 22)
  • Bars (May 22)
  • Aquariums and Natural Caverns (May 22)
  • Zoos (May 29)
  • Day Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Overnight Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Youth Sports (May 31)
  • Certain professional sports without in-person spectators (May 31)

Read on…

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