As Harris County residents prepare for a new order requiring that people wear masks in public spaces, Texas governor Greg Abbott announced plans to reopen restaurants across the state with severely limited capacities.
Abbott announced the plan, which allows restaurants to reopen their dining rooms at 25% of normal capacity on May 1, in a press conference on Monday afternoon. The order also implements several new health protocols that restaurants must implement if they choose to open, including a requirement that all tables be spaced six feet apart and a ban on parties of more than six people.
Restaurants must also provide new, disposable menus to each customer in the dining room, and condiments should only be provided upon request. Buffet restaurants will have to have employees serve patrons, and restaurant operators are encouraged to “consider having all employees wear cloth face coverings.”
Abbott noted that his most recent executive order “supersedes” any decisions made by Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo, who just ordered last week that Harris County residents be required to wear face masks while out in public. Harris County’s “stay at home, work safe” order is currently in only in effect until April 30, which means that it is not in conflict with Abbott’s statewide order.