Abbott announces reopening of nursing homes and capacity expansion for non-essential businesses


AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Businesses across much of Texas will be allowed to expand capacity restrictions starting as early as Sept. 21, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday.

Starting Sept. 24, Abbott said all nursing home facilities, assisted living centers, state supported living centers, and other long-term care facilities are allowed to reopen for visitation, providing that they comply with certain health protocols and there must not be a COVID-19 outbreak in the facility. All of those facilities are now allowed to offer essential caregiver visits, he said.

“Texans have shown that we can address both the health and safety concerns of COVID, while also taking carefully measured steps to restore the livelihoods that Texas desperately need,” Gov. Abbott said.

For the state’s 19 hospital regions where coronavirus hospitalizations are less than 15% industries that were limited to 50% capacity may now expand to 75% capacity starting Sept. 21, including all retail stores, all restaurants, all office buildings, all manufacturing, all museums and libraries, and all gyms.

Hospitals in those regions may return to ordinary elective surgical procedures immediately, Abbott also stated.

“It is critical to the health of residents that we provide opportunities wherever possible for families to reunite, while continuing to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of disease. Safely visiting with family and friends is the best medicine and most reassuring act we can provide for our most fragile Texans during these challenging times.”

Cecile Erwin Young, HHS Executive Commissioner

Gov. Greg Abbott will be giving an update on Texas’ response to the coronavirus pandemic in Austin at noon Thursday.

The governor will be joined by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, Chief Nim Kidd of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and other top health officials.

Several key statistics, including the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, have trended down in recent weeks. It is unclear if he will ease restrictions that are still in place across the state, including the ban on bars being opened.

However, the number of current active cases throughout the state is still much higher than when initial restrictions and shutdown orders were put in place back in the spring.

With the return of college students to most campuses as well as many high school districts throughout Texas, many health officials in the state are worried about cases trending back up.

KETK News will broadcast the news conference as well as livestream it on our website, Facebook, and on the free KETK mobile app.

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