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Texas Reopening Checklists

Mobile digital checklists to help Texan business owners safely reopen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

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Published August 4th, 2020

Lifting the Stay-at-home order in Texas

The state of Texas officially lifted stay-at-home orders on April 30. This allowed businesses to operate under industry-specific COVID-19 protocols to minimize the chances of coronavirus transmissions due to reopening. Since reopening, the number of new cases averaged around 1,000 per day; with occasional spikes being most notable on May 13 and 16 where the daily average shot up to 1,600.

With Texas ranking 2nd both in land area and population in the United States, the success of their reopening initiatives could influence the attitude and approach of other states who are also trying to get their economy back up and running.

Industry-specific Health Protocols for Reopening and Operation

The Texas Department of State Health Services or DSHS created the minimum recommended health protocols for businesses in the state. Protocols for individuals, employers, retailers, restaurants, and others were released on May 1. Protocols for other industries were later released, with each one being updated on a semi-regular basis.

Texas Reopening: Revitalizing the Economy

According to The Governor’s Report to Open Texas, the overarching plan is to revitalize the state by “safely and strategically restarting work, school, entertainment, and culture.” As with any other state or country, general protocols that apply at an individual-level is the most important element of reopening success. The critical health guidelines are as follows:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Always wear a face mask before leaving the house.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue then immediately dispose of it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you have not washed your hands.
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces such as buttons, handles, door knobs etc.
  • Avoid close physical contact with people, especially those who are visibly sick.

Texas Reopening: A Gradual Approach

The state of Texas has implemented up to phase 3 of its reopening plan as of the first week of June 2020. Each phase addressed the legal operating capacity for each business type, as well as guidelines for minimizing COVID-19 transmissions. Businesses risk losing their license to operate if they violate the state’s reopening guidelines:

Phase 1 of Texas Reopening

Starting May 1st, the following are allowed to operate at a maximum of 25% capacity under phase 1:

  • Retailers
  • Malls
  • Restaurants
  • Movie theaters

Churches are allowed to open as long as physical distancing of at least 6 feet is observed. People must have two empty seats between them except if they come from the same household in which case they are allowed to sit together.

Some business types in counties with less than five confirmed COVID-19 cases on or after are allowed to increase occupancy by up to 50%. These business types include restaurants, retailers, malls, museums, libraries, and movie theaters. Social distancing must be implemented and sanitary and disinfecting wipes, hand washes, and soap and water must always be available to workers and customers.

Phase 2 of Texas Reopening

The second phase of Texas reopening began on May 29 which allowed zoos and waterparks to operate at 25% capacity. The standard physical distancing of 6 feet must be observed and sanitizers and disinfectants must again be easily accessible at all times to workers and visitors.

On May 31st, recreational sports for adults were also allowed to resume without spectators. Professional sports events played outdoors were allowed to operate at 25% seating capacity, while indoor sporting events were allowed to operate without spectators.

Phase 3 of Texas Reopening

Phase 3 started on June 3 which allowed most businesses to operate at 50% capacity including restaurants and indoor sports. Outdoor professional sports can start operating at 50% seating capacity from 25% in phase 2, and college sports can reopen at 50% capacity. Restaurants are slated to ramp up to 75% capacity starting June 12.

As of June 25, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the pause of Texas reopening phases due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

Free Digital Texas Reopening Checklists for Businesses

Even with the top scientists all over the world working together to come up with a vaccine, most experts estimate that we are still at least 1 year away from a vaccine. Meanwhile, the economy cannot afford to stand still and businesses must find a way to operate without compromising safety.

To assist texan business owners, we have prepared these ready-to-use digital checklists they can download for free with iAuditor by SafetyCulture. Improve and implement safety protocols against COVID-19 with a versatile mobile app.


Disclaimer: Please note that these checklists, while created with the latest best practices in mind, only provide the basic information and are not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek your own professional advice to determine if the use of such checklists are permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.


Juhlian Pimping

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Juhlian Pimping has been writing about safety and quality topics for SafetyCulture since 2018. Before writing for SafetyCulture full-time, Juhlian worked in customer service and wrote for an Australian RTO.