• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced what businesses could reopen by May 22 to June 1
  • He attributed the spike in cases to increased testing statewide
  • Some counties, however, will not  yet shift to Phase 2 due to limited hospital capacity

Gov. Greg Abbott announced bars, professional sports, and schools can reopen as Texas moves ahead with the second phase of its plan to jump-start the local economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abbott said that, by Friday (May 22), bars, breweries, and wine tasting rooms may resume operations at 25% capacity, while restaurants could expand its capacity to 50%.

Texas is shifting to Phase 2 of its reopening plans by allowing bars, pro sports and summer classes to resume. Pixabay

The governor will also allow the reopening of rodeos, bingo sites, and bowling centers Friday, while professional sports like basketball, baseball, and golf can restart on May 31. Organizers of professional sports events, however, should apply to hold a game without spectators with the Department of State Health Services.

Youth camps, day camps, and summer camps may also resume on May 31. The state will allow summer classes to begin as soon as June 1.

Anyone going out in public and attending social events is still expected to practice social distancing and adopt safety measures to prevent further spread of the virus.

The announcement came after Texas recorded its highest numbers of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Texas has 48,693 reported cases and 1,347 deaths as of May 18. On Saturday, Texas had its highest single-day increase at 1,801, per the Texas Health and Human Services.

However, Abbot said, in a press conference, Monday, that the spike in cases in the past few days could be attributed to the increase in the numbers of tests. So far, there has been a total of 723,013 tests statewide, but the numbers of positive results have reportedly gone down.

Thus, Abbot was prompted to move to Phase 2, given the latest data and after a meeting with the White House.

"Today, tomorrow and every day going forward is one day closer to medical discoveries that will help treat and protect people from getting Covid-19," the governor said. "Until that day comes, our focus is to keep you safe while also restoring your ability to get back to work, to open your businesses, to pay your bills, to put food on your tables."

However, some counties, such as El Paso, Potter, Randall, Moore, and Deaf Smith, will not be shifting to Phase 2 until May 29 due to its limited hospital capacity. These areas had a rise in cases because of the infection in a meatpacking facility in Amarillo.

The governor ended Texas’ stay-at-home order on May 1. The state was one of the first to reopen its economy in America.