Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Image

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Monday that he will allow the state's stay-at-home order to lapse on April 30, at which point Texas will begin "phase one" of its reopening plan.

The state of play: Abbott said at a press conference that all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls will be permitted to reopen on May 1 as long as occupancy is limited to 25%. Abbott emphasized the "importance of vulnerable populations remaining at home, if at all possible."

  • Phase two, which Texas will move to as early as May 18 if phase one is successful, will later expand occupancy to 50%, with further increases allowed in the future.
  • Barbershops, salons, gyms and bars will remain closed for now, but they could open as part of phase two in mid-May.
  • Abbott's executive order will supersede all local ordinances limiting business operations.

What he's saying:

"Something important to remember: This order allows these businesses to reopen. It does not require them to do so. If a business owner feels unsafe opening at this time ... there's no requirement to do so."
— Greg Abbott

The big picture: Abbott is the latest in a series of governors moving to reopen their economies around May 1, following guidance from President Trump that requires states to report at least 14 days of declining hospitalizations before lifting coronavirus restrictions.

  • While Texas is operating independently, other governors have created Western, Midwestern and Northeastern coalitions in order to take a regional approach to reopening.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has faced backlash from Trump and public health officials for moving to open barbershops, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors and salons as early as this week.

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Why it matters: Florida joins California as the only two states to surpass this milestone. Texas, which is reporting the third-most confirmed cases in the country, is not far behind, according to Johns Hopkins data.

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