Guidelines for Reopening Your Business in Texas | CoverWallet

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Guidelines for reopening in texas

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has recently released executive orders with a set of guidelines that will allow certain non-essential small businesses to begin reopening. Governor Abbott plans to reopen the Texas economy in stages as the number of coronavirus cases goes down.

Phase one, which began on May 1, applies to retailers, malls, restaurants, and movie theaters. The second phase begins Friday, May 8, and allows businesses like hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tanning salons, and wedding venues or reception halls to resume under certain circumstances.

The final phase, expected to take place in mid-May, will allow gyms, some office buildings, bars, amusement parks, and manufacturers to resume business. Keep in mind, all businesses will have to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines. Additionally, some companies may choose to reopen at a slower, more cautious pace – for example, much of the glitzy Dallas office space that outlines the city’s iconic skyline is expected to remain mostly unused for now.

If your company falls into the first two phases, below are some guidelines for reopening your business in Texas.

How do I keep my employees safe?

First, it’s important to address the safety of your employees. Texas mandates that all employers educate their workers on proper disinfection and hand hygiene protocols.

All employees should wear face masks and when possible maintain social distancing, meaning whenever possible they need to remain at least six feet apart.

Employees must also be screened for symptoms of coronavirus, including daily temperature checks. Any employee that shows signs of being sick should be sent home right away.


Restaurants in Texas can resume offering dine-in services but are limited to 25% capacity at first. However, restaurants that operate in rural counties where there are fewer than five cases of coronavirus can operate at 50% capacity.

In addition to operating at a reduced capacity, no more than six people can be seated at one table and all tables should be six feet apart. However, there is no restriction for patio or outdoor seating.

Restaurants should also provide hand sanitizing stations and valet service should be discontinued, except for those with disabilities.

The Texas government also strongly encourages the following measure to ensure the safety of staff and guests:

  • Have an employee open doors for guests to limit contact with surfaces
  • Use disposable menus
  • Remove condiments like ketchup, salt, and pepper from tables and only provide single-serve portions to guests upon request
  • Continuously disinfect surfaces

Restaurants are also encouraged to continue providing pickup and delivery options.

Retail Stores

Retail stores can reopen but only at 25% capacity, however, similar to restaurants, those in rural areas with fewer than five cases of coronavirus may operate at 50% capacity.

You should make hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes available for customers and encourage them to stay at least six feet apart. The new executive order also recommends that employees regularly disinfect any objects customers come into contact with. Whenever possible, retailers should use contactless or digital payments to minimize contact with customers.

Throughout the reopening process, retailers are encouraged to continue providing specific times for curbside pickup.

Churches or places of worship

While churches and places of worship were never closed in Texas, the governor’s office has provided guidelines to help people stay healthy through the reopening process. Those considered to be at risk of contracting coronavirus, like senior citizens or those with pre-existing health conditions, should be encouraged to watch services remotely.

Those that attend services in-person should remain six feet apart from those not in their household and there should be an empty row between attendees. These same protocols apply to funeral, burial, and memorial services.

Wedding venues or reception halls

Wedding venues and reception halls must operate under restrictions similar to retailers and restaurants. Venues can only host 25% of their operational capacity and all non-related guests should remain six feet apart.

State guidelines say that there should be at least two empty seats between non-related guests and one empty row in order to maintain proper social distancing. The executive order strongly suggests utilizing outdoor space whenever possible. In addition, venues are advised to provide a designated area for those 65 or older and those with pre-existing health conditions.

In addition, all dining tables should be spaced at least six feet apart and no unattended tableware should be left out. Food should be served only by employees with single-serve condiments. Open buffets are strongly discouraged.

Barbershops and hair, nail, and tanning salons

These businesses can open so long as there are six feet of space between every workstation. All employees should wear gloves and replace their gloves after coming into contact with a client. In addition, every workstation needs to be sanitized after each client.

These businesses also need to put new rules in place for their clients:

  • All customers should have their temperature checked with a no-contact thermometer
  • All customers should wash their hands when they enter the business
  • Children will not be allowed to accompany parents
  • Appointments should be made in advance and with a time-limit
  • Walk-in clients need to wait in their cars or outside

Does your business have insurance?

When reopening your business it’s important to make sure you have the proper insurance in place to make sure you protect your property and your staff, look for any potential claims that could have occurred while your business was closed, and be sure your coverage is still active.

Here’s a quick list of what you might need to consider:

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The bottom line

Many small business owners are eager to have their doors open again, however, it’s important to make sure you follow health and sanitation guidelines to make sure you, your employees, and your customers stay safe and healthy. This is a rapidly evolving situation and you should make sure you stay up-to-date with new guidelines and executive orders. You can find more information from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Editorial note: The content provided on this page is intended for general information purposes only and is not represented to be error-free nor is it intended to constitute an offer, inducement, promise, or contract of any kind for you to rely upon. This page is based on information that was last updated on May 7, 2020. The information and data linked to by CoverWallet are provided as a courtesy and are not intended to nor do they constitute an endorsement by CoverWallet of the linked materials. To get accurate information for your business and industry we recommend you contact a licensed insurance agent, attorney, or your local government.