Abbott loosens certain ceremony restrictions, reopens salons, gyms

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Photo Credit: Amna Ijaz | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new executive order Tuesday that loosens restrictions on certain ceremonies and allows salons and gyms to reopen within the month. 

Abbott’s order allows elementary and high school graduations to proceed with certain conditions. Mike Morath, Texas Education Agency commissioner, said TEA would publish guidelines today for graduations that maintain social distancing. Morath said acceptable ceremonies include drive-thru ceremonies and “hybrid ceremonies” where students film their walks separately and the footage is edited into one video.

Morath also said outdoor ceremonies that practice social distancing would be acceptable, similar to how the Air Force Academy conducted its graduation last month.

Abbott also clarified his order from last week, which added religious services as essential services and allowed places of worship to expand occupancy. He said weddings are included under the order and may continue with socially distant seating. 

Barbershops, hair salons and nail salons may reopen May 8, but can only allow one stylist per person and must practice social distancing, Abbott said. He further recommended that employees and customers wear a face mask.

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

Gyms can reopen May 18. Locker rooms and showers in gyms will not be opened, and all gym equipment must be disinfected after use. Abbott said visitors must maintain social distancing and recommended wearing gloves.