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Texas has entered a new phase in its reopening plan | Here's what that means

The next step in reopening Texas officially begins today. Here's what that will mean for restaurants, businesses and you.

TEXAS, USA β€” Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced an expanded reopening plan for most of the state Thursday as COVID-19 numbers continue to drop. 

  • Nearly 20 regions can expand to 75% capacity beginning Monday, Sept. 21.That includes restaurants, retail stores, offices, manufacturing and gyms.  
  • Bars across the state will remain closed unless they operate as restaurants because "they are nationally recognized as COVID-spreading locations," Abbott said.
  • Hospitals in the 19 regions can return to performing elective procedures. 
  • Effective Sept. 24, eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities will be able to designate up to two essential family caregivers for visitation.

Gov. Abbott said the state relied most heavily on the hospitalization rate in each region before moving into this next phase. The percentage of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in each region must fall below 15% for seven consecutive days.

The only regions that don't currently meet that criteria are Rio Grande Valley, Victoria and Laredo. Abbott said their hospitalization rates are still β€œin the danger zone.”                                                          

If hospitalization rates rise above 15% in the other regions, Gov. Abbott said changes will be needed. 

The governor emphasized that Texans must continue to wear masks, practice good hygiene and social distance as we move forward.

"We must continue the safe practices that slowed the spread this summer," Gov. Abbott said.