Coronavirus in Texas: Gyms, manufacturing facilities and offices open Monday

Monday’s biggest developments

  • Gyms and other businesses reopening

Texas reports 48,693 cases and 1,347 deaths

[4:45 p.m.] Texas reported 909 more cases of the new coronavirus Monday, an increase of about 2% over the previous day, bringing the total number of known cases to 48,693. No new counties reported cases Monday; over 85% of the state’s 254 counties have reported at least one case.

Harris County has reported the most cases, 9,465, followed by Dallas County, which has reported 7,455 cases. See maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.

The state has reported 11 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 1,347 — an increase of about 1% from Sunday. Harris County reported 204 deaths, more than any other county.

As of Monday, 1,551 patients are known to be hospitalized in Texas. That’s an increase of 39 patients from Sunday. At least 723,013 tests have been conducted. — Anna Novak.

As of May 18, Texas reports at least 48,693 coronavirus cases

The Texas Department of State Health Services is tracking COVID-19 cases in Texas by county. The numbers are reported by local health officials and may not represent all cases of the disease given limited testing. The state numbers may lag behind other local news reports and cases that local health officials are disclosing.

Gyms and other businesses are allowed to reopen

[8:16 a.m.] Offices, manufacturing facilities and gyms are allowed to open in Texas on Monday, following the guidelines published by Gov. Greg Abbott in his May 6 executive order. As is the case with other businesses, these facilities will be limited in their capacity.

Offices will be able to operate with up to five employees at a time or 25% of the total office workforce — whichever number is greater — provided they maintain social distancing and follow other health measures like having employees wear face coverings. The governor’s task force is still asking employers to encourage employees to work from home if possible and implement alternate schedules for those who go into the office.

Nonessential manufacturing facilities will be able to operate at 25% occupancy. The governor’s task force asks manufacturing facilities to provide physical dividers if keeping workers 6 feet apart isn’t possible. Workers should also wear face coverings and be provided disinfecting products like hand sanitizer and wipes. The governor’s task force asks manufacturers with more than 10 workers at a time to choose a person in charge of enforcing health protocols.

Gyms and exercise facilities will be able to open, too, at 25% occupancy, not counting workers. Lockers and showers will have to remain closed. Workout equipment should be spaced out to keep patrons at least 6 feet apart, and cleaning supplies should be provided. Patrons should wear gloves that fully cover their wrists and fingers while exercising and should wear face masks. They should also clean off machines and exercise equipment like free weights after use and sanitize any equipment brought from home. Gym-goers should keep a 6-foot distance from anybody 65 and older, though these individuals are advised to stay home.

Since May 6, beauty services — including barbershops, salons and tanning beds — have been allowed to function under recommendations like offering services that are not time consuming and keeping workstations 6 feet apart. Workers can refuse to serve anybody they suspect to be sick or contagious, and it is recommended that workers and customers are screened for symptoms.

Indoor and outdoor swimming pools were also allowed to operate at 25% capacity starting May 6. Interactive water venues, like water parks and splash pads, are still closed.

Retail stores, malls, movie theaters and restaurants have been allowed to open at 25% capacity since May 1.

People who violate orders can’t face jail time, but they can be cited and fined.

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