Get ready for patio Margaritas and prime steaks: All Texas restaurants may reopen on Friday, May 1, says Governor

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced today that he was loosening quarantine restrictions across the entire state and would permit all restaurants in Texas to reopen beginning Friday, May 1. Abbott said his orders supersede all local orders.

That means you and I can finally get back to prime steaks and Mesero’s margaritas, but there’s one catch: all virtually all businesses – including restaurants, malls, movie theaters and museums – may not exceed 25% of their capacity until Abbott announces a bump to 50%, which he’s termed phase 2.

Though seats at your favorite restaurant may be hard to come by with these capacity restrictions, at least you now have options. Bars, barbers and gyms would remain shuttered until at least mid-May. Golf and tennis are now okay, too, but outdoor sports are limited to groups of four participants.

In addressing the end of his stay-at-home orders, which will expire as scheduled on Thursday, April 30, the Governor said, “Now it’s time to set a new course … that responsibly opens up business in Texas.”

“We’re not just going to open up and hope for the best,” he said, adding that reopenings will happen in phases. If the first phase goes well, and “if we can contain the spread,” Phase 2 could come as early as May 18.

Masks and social distancing are still part of the plan. House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said: “We must continue our social distancing, we must continue our consideration of others. We must remember that we may not find ourselves as vulnerable as others, but we have compassion for the most vulnerable of our society.”