By Hector Montemayor-Perez
Senior News Reporter
SAN MARCOS, Texas – The Hays County Local Health Department reported five new COVID-19 lab-confirmed positive cases in Hays County, bringing the total amount of active cases to 73.
There have now been 91 recoveries in Hays County, 13 more than yesterday. Six additional lab tests have come back negative and 17 are pending.
The city of San Marcos will begin to reopen Friday due to a new executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott. The order is the first phase of cautiously reopening Texas businesses while prioritizing COVID-19 precautions.
Specific businesses, healthcare professionals and “no-contact” sports like tennis and golf will be allowed to reopen as long as certain guidelines are met.
Businesses such as restaurants, retail shops, movie theaters, malls, museums, libraries and single-person offices may reopen limited to 25% capacity.
Licensed healthcare professionals may return to work under their respective licensing agencies. Licensed hospitals must reserve 15% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients.
However, not all businesses are allowed to reopen. Salons, barber shops, spas, gyms, bars, tattoo and piercing studios, massage establishments and interactive amusements venues like bowling alleys and video arcades must remain closed along with interactive areas with hands-on activities. Facilities like the public library, parks and playscapes will remain closed as well.
“As a community, this is our opportunity to reopen our economy with everyone’s safety in mind,” Mayor Jane Hughson said in a press release today. “We strongly recommend that residents and business owners incorporate masks or face coverings, practice safe distancing measures, initiate sanitation protocols, and continue responsible social practices so we can eventually open all businesses.”
Included in the executive order is a plan to expand testing to 25,000 tests administered per day in early May. If all goes well and the data shows the virus is being properly contained Phase 2 of the Governor’s plan could begin as early as May 18.