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  • Andy Adams

Governor Abbott Outlines Reopening of Texas

Governor of Texas Greg Abbott has issued three executive orders designed to start the process of reopening the state of Texas.

Executive Order 16 starts the process with the extremely small step of allowing non-essential retail establishments to open and conduct pickup or delivery business starting next week April 24, 2020. Perhaps, more importantly, the order has mandated that all schools, public or private, will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. That was the noise you heard at 12:15 PM today as countless parents across Texas opened their doors and screamed at the sky.

For businesses allowed to open, the following guidelines have been issued by the Texas Health and Human Services Department:

I am an Employee of a retail business re-opening. What should I do to keep myself and our customers safe?

  • All employees must be trained on environmental cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.

  • All employees must be screened before coming into the business for new or worsening cough; shortness of breath; sore throat; loss of taste or smell; feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit; or known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. Any employee who meets any of these criteria should be sent home.

  • Upon entering the business, employees must wash or sanitize hands.

  • All employees must wear face coverings.

  • Employees must maintain at least 6 feet separation from one another.

I am a Customer. How do I purchase and obtain goods from a retail store that has just re-opened?

  • Customers may purchase items from a retail location for pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep, but may not enter the premises.

  • Retail to-go:

  • All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.

  • Purchased items should be delivered by the employee to the backseat or trunk of the customer’s vehicle whenever possible to minimize physical contact with the customer.

  • Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after each interaction with a customer, and whenever possible, must disinfect any item that came into contact with the customer.

  • Retail delivery to customer’s doorstep: All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available. Purchased items should be delivered by an employee or third- party carrier and delivered to the customer’s doorstep. The employee or third-party carrier may not enter the customer’s house or business.

  • Retail delivery by mail:

  • All payments must be done over the phone or internet.

  • Purchased items should be delivered by mail without customer contact.

  • The customer should wash or sanitize their hands after the transaction.

The other two Executive Orders establish a "Strike Force" tasked with making recommendations about how and when to open other businesses and address maintaining essential supplies in the hospital systems.

If you have been rooting for the opening to happen ASAP, these orders probably leave you disappointed. It strikes me that there will be few non-essential businesses who will open as a result of this small release. However, the optimist in me thinks that this is just the foundation and by next week, we will have a clearer picture and a broader opening to build on. I will continue to give our leaders the benefit of the doubt right now as they struggle to balance public health and economic crisis unparalleled in our history.

God bless Texas.

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