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San Antonio Businesses Start To Reopen As Texas Relaxes Shutdown Despite Viral Threat

Tortilla chips on a restaurant table at Market Square.
Jack Morgan | Texas Public Radio

Eager to dig the state out of a pandemic-fueled financial crisis, state leaders have given the green light to continue rebooting Texas' economy. Chief among concerns about reopening businesses is that rushing to do so will trigger a second wave of COVID-19 cases. 

Ahead of schedule, Governor Abbott will permit nail salons, barber shops, tanning salons and pools to open onFriday, May 8, provided that they are able to maintain social distancing and limit customer occupancy to 25%.

The Governor’s announcement — issued under advisement of his recently assembled task force to reopen Texas — comes only a few days after retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, libraries and museums were allowed to reopen May 1. The next day, Texas reported its second-highest number of new cases.

The City of San Antonio and Bexar County transition teams were anticipating a later opening date with stricter measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19, but state orders supersede city-issued rules and recommendations for how to safely get Texans back to work.

What’s being done to help area businesses reopen as safely as possible as the virus continues to threaten public health? What policies and practices will be implemented to mitigate risk of transmission to consumers and employees, and prevent additional community spread?

When will we know whether or not these efforts were successful? If cases spike as a result of reopening too soon or with rules too lax, what regulatory power do local officials have considering existing state orders? What can we learn from other states further along in the reopening process? 


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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, May 7.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.