Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced at a press briefing on Tuesday that hair salons, barbershops, tanning salons and gyms will be allowed to reopen within the next two weeks.

Why it matters: The announcement comes less than a week after Texas launched its phase one reopening plan, prompting backlash from some Democrats who believe the state is moving too fast to determine whether the reopenings have caused a surge in infections.

  • Dallas County reported its highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases for the third straight day on Tuesday, though it's worth noting that the state has significantly ramped up its testing capacity.

The state of play: Abbott allowed movie theaters, restaurants and malls to begin operating at 25% capacity on April 30. Close-contact facilities like salons were largely excluded from the phase one plan.

  • Hair salons, barbershops and tanning salons will now be allowed to reopen on Friday with recommended limitations, including 6 feet between clients and masks for employees and customers.
  • Gyms will be permitted to open on May 18, with requirements including 25% occupancy limits, locker room closures, 6-feet of distancing, gloves worn by patrons and consistent disinfection of surfaces.

By the numbers: Texas has reported over 33,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 900 deaths, per Johns Hopkins.

Go deeper

Jul 29, 2020 - Health

Florida reports record 216 COVID-19 deaths

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Florida on Wednesday reported 216 coronavirus-related deaths over a 24-hour stretch — a new record for the state.

Why it matters: Florida also reported a record number of fatalities on Tuesday, per Reuters. The state's death toll is over 6,300, with more than 451,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the Florida Department of Health. Florida has the second-most coronavirus cases in the U.S.

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

U.S. reports highest number of single-day coronavirus deaths since May

A funeral assistant prepares for a funeral in Miami, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Almost 66,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 1,400 deaths from the virus were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, per the COVID Tracking Project.

Why it matters: The toll marks the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in a single day since May 15, according to the tracking project's data. The U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 150,000 earlier Wednesday. "The rise in deaths is largely driven by the southern states, which reported 962 deaths today," it noted.

Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. He will be replaced with Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who will serve in both roles.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.