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Texas governor announces hair salons will reopen on May 8 and gyms on May 18

Texas to open despite virus testing concerns

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that barbershops and nail and hair salons can reopen on Friday, May 8, and gyms could reopen on May 18 with restrictions. The announcement came as Texas recorded more than 2,000 coronavirus cases over May 2 and May 3, the most the state has seen in a two-day period since the coronavirus crisis began.

According to Abbott, there will only be one stylist per person, and he recommended the stylist and the customer wear face masks. If customers cannot wait more than six feet apart, it's recommended they wait outside. Abbott said it is not required that salons open.

"Every owner of every salon should use their own best judgement when to reopen," Abbott said.  

As for gyms, Abbott said they can reopen on May 18 — but no locker rooms or showers can be used, and all equipment must be sanitized after each use. Customers must wear gloves. 

"We know that as we begin reopening, there could be flare-ups… I want you to know, we are ready for that," Abbott said. What he called "Surge Response Teams" will deal with any flare-ups, he added.  

Abbott's plans for reopening hair salons and gyms come less than a week after he began what he described as a phased reopening of the state. Restaurants, retail stores, libraries and movie theaters have reopened with 25% capacity. 

But the state passed a grim milestone over the weekend, having recorded its greatest number of new coronavirus cases on May 2 and 3, according to CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV. There were 1,293 new cases of the virus reported Saturday alone, the second-highest single-day gain in the state since the crisis began.

In leaked audio from a call on Friday with Texas legislators published by Progress Texas and Quorum Report, Abbott said "the fact of the matter is that pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening, whether you you want to call it a reopening of business or just a reopening of society in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase in spreads. It's almost ipso facto — the more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility is for transmission. The goal never has been to get transmission down to zero."  

Abbott spokesman John Wittman told The Daily Beast that Abbott's comments were similar to what he'd previously said in a local interview. 

Aaron Navarro contributed reporting.

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