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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.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 11, 2020 - Health

N.Y., N.J. and Conn. to require travelers from 31 states to quarantine

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Travelers from 31 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are now required to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

What's new: Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands were added to the travel advisory list on Tuesday, while Alaska, Ohio, New Mexico and Rhode Island were removed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Updated Aug 24, 2020 - Health

Florida surpasses 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases

Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital near Miami on July 30. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Florida's confirmed coronavirus cases exceeded 600,000 on Sunday, the state's health department data shows.

Why it matters: Florida joins California as the only two states to surpass this milestone. Texas, which is reporting the third-most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is not far behind, according to state figures and Johns Hopkins data. Florida has added over 100,000 cases since Aug. 5.

GOP senator says stimulus needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-19 as possible

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at an Axios virtual event Wednesday that the next coronavirus relief package needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-specific issues as possible in order to resolve the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Why it matters: Democrats and negotiators from the Trump administration remain far apart on a deal for the next tranche of relief. The fraught negotiations come as millions of Americans continue to suffer from the health and economic effects of the pandemic without the unemployment benefits from the first stimulus bill.