TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Today is the first day since March for many East Texas businesses to welcome customers at 75% capacity. KLTV went out to some of those businesses to see how their first day went.
Governor Abbott allowed Texas to enter its next phase of reopening today because of a low hospitalization rate. Business like retail stores, restaurants, offices, and gyms were able to increase from 50% to a 75% capacity rate, but for some of those East Texas businesses, they didn’t notice any difference.
Maggie Solis is a manager at Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant, she tells us “it was pretty slow. We were hoping that it would get better because we can open to a 75% capacity but it was still slow. Hopefully, from now on we can have more clientele.”
Many restaurants won’t be able to expand capacity without going against CDC recommendations. Some restaurant owners say in order to maintain safe social distancing for both customers and staff, they have to keep their capacity at 50%.
According to Governor Abbott, “if we fully reopen Texas without limits, without safe practices, it could lead to an unsustainable increase in COVID-19 that would require the possibility of being forced to ratchet back down.”
Some gym employees in the area say they haven’t seen a kick up in clientele just yet, but that staff members can only do so much to keep everyone safe.
Woodcreek Athletics Club manager, Ricky Walls, says, “at some point, it does become self-accountability as far as knowing 'hey I’m going to touch this, I need to protect myself and who’s coming in after me.”
Bars are still left out in the reopening process. Governor Abbott says they are still working on the safest way to open bars without risking the possibility of spreading COVID-19.
Governor Abbott says hospital districts will help determine how and when the state can reopen even more. Areas with more than 15% COVID-19 hospitalizations cannot resume reopening.