- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2020

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday said day care centers can reopen immediately and that bars and bowling alleys may open at 25% capacity on Friday, as he slowly lifts restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Republican governor also said youth centers, including Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs, must open up to keep children occupied as their parents return to work.

As of Monday, companies that operate in office buildings can operate with 10 people or at 25% capacity, whichever is greater.

Restaurants can expand their capacity to 50% Friday, while youth sports and camps will resume on May 31.

Texas has documented over 48,000 cases, including over 1,300 deaths, from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

It recorded its highest single-day increase of 1,800 on Saturday even as it moves to open up again.

The governor said it is working to address hot spots, including a meatpacking plant in Amarillo.

“As testing increases, so will the raw number of people testing positive,” Mr. Abbott said. “What matters most is the percentage of people who test positive.”

The past month has shown a downward trajectory in the positivity rate, the governor said, although he is advising older Texans to remain cautious.

“The safest strategy for seniors is to continue is to stay at home, if at all possible,” he said.

Officials said their easing of rules will only work if everyday Texans do their part by wearing masks and maintaining distance from others.

“Each Texan must do their part,” said James Huffines, chairman of the governor’s strike force to reopen Texas.

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