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County Receives the Go Ahead to Open at 50%

Sunday, May 10, 2020
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On April 27, 2020 Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-18. You may view GA-18 on the Gaines County webpage. There is also a 64-page report, that is referenced in GA-18, that includes further guidance to open up Texas and is also available on the county webpage, entitled "The Govenor's Report to Open Texas." GA-18 authorized retail stores and restaurants to open at 25% capacity on May 1, 2020.

Governor Abbott announced that he will have a news conference on May 11 to announce if the 25% occupancy rate is working. If the rule is keeping the statewide positive COVID-19 cases down, he may announce that all of the state can go to 50% on May 14. However, there is an opportunity for rural counties with 5 or fewer laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19, on April 30th, to increase capacity for retail stores and restauarants to 50% at an earlier date if the County Judge certifies and affirms to the DSHS that certain standards have been investigated and confirmed to be met.

After careful investigation and consideration, County Judge Tom N. Keyes, with the approval of the Commissioners Court, submitted the forms to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) attesting that Gaines County met the criteria to increase capacity to 50% on Wednesday morning, May 6th. Shortly before close of business the following statement was received from DSHS:

Thank you for your submission. We have determined that your county meets the threshold of 5 or fewer COVID-19 cases. You may proceed to expand opening capacity to 50%, consistent with GA-18 and DSHS minimum health protocols. If at any point your county decides to go back to 25% capacity, please notify as soon as possible.

Consequently, retail stores and restaurants are authorized to open to 50% capacity, consistent with GA-18 and DSHS minimum health protocols. Social distancing continues to be required. Social gatherings greater than 10 are not encouraged. Masks are strongly encouraged. If you don't feel well, if you have a temperature, do not go out in public, if you can help it. If you are older, and at risk of infection, ask others to help with grocery shopping and other essential needs; stay at home, stay safe, stay healthy. We continue to need to take care of each other. If Gaines County has a spike in the number of infections restrictions will be put back in place by the state.