Despite rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott will allow, effective Friday, barbershops and beauty parlors to reopen, as well as nail and tanning salons. Gyms will follow on Monday, May 18.
Barbershops, salons, and gyms must follow certain health and safety rules, as the state continues to battle COVID-19. Hair stylists may work with one customer at a time. People waiting in barbershops will have to maintain 6-foot separation or wait outside.
Gyms must operate at a maximum of 25 percent of capacity. Showers and locker rooms will remain closed; equipment must be disinfected after each use and members must wear gloves.
The governor's announcement on Tuesday came as Texas cases increased to 33,369, with 906 deaths, reported the Texas Department of State Health Services. In Anderson County, COVID cases rose by four to 38, with four recovered and no deaths.
Weddings, funerals, and memorials may go on in Texas, Abbott said, as long as participants practice social distancing. Abbott continues to promote attending church, funerals, memorials, burials, and weddings by watching or participating remotely, whenever possible.
Bars will remain closed, as state health officials determine how they can safely re-open.
The announcement came less than a week after Abbott began the first phase of reopening the state after a stay-at-home order was enacted. The first phase allowed restaurants, retail stores, libraries, movie theaters, and museums to reopen at 25 percent capacity.
As of Tuesday, COVID-19 was found in 216 of the state's 254 counties. Texas has conducted 427,210 tests.
Experts say it's too early to tell whether the first phase of re-opening on May 1 has caused a surge in new coronavirus cases.