Phase 2 is Here

A Handy Calendar of What Businesses Can Reopen in Texas and When

Plus, the state’s safety recommendations for operators and you.

By Catherine Wendlandt May 19, 2020

Updated 3:22 p.m. May 26

Gov. Greg abbott released a list of more services and businesses that can reopen during Phase 2 today. Beginning immediately, food courts in shopping malls can reopen, so long as social distancing guidelines are followed. Additionally, water parks, recreational sports leagues, and drivers education will be able to resume over the next week. Read through the calendar below for a list of who can open and when. 

Published May 19

Texas is officially entering Phase 2 of reopening. On Monday, May 18, Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans for a staggered reopening of businesses over the next two weeks.

Office buildings and gyms were allowed to reopen on Monday, and bars can officially reopen on Friday, May 22. Restaurants can also expand to 50 percent capacity on Friday as well. But other businesses can't reopen until May 29 or 31, and summer school won't be able to resume until June 1.

Confused yet? It's certainly a lot to keep track of, so we went through the governor’s order and created a calendar of what businesses can reopen and when.  Here's what you need to know.

Reopening May 18

Childcare Centers

Regulated child care centers, temporary licensed child care centers, home providers, and youth development organizations may all reopen, but must follow new guidelines, including requiring sick children and staff to stay home, only allowing individually packaged meals, and new class sizes. 

Families whose children attend childcare also have guidelines, such as washing orsanitizing hands after dropping children off, and sending a child to daycare with an extra set of clothes. Click here for more info on child care centers and a checklist for families.

Gyms and Exercise Facilities

Exercise facilities, classes, and gyms can reopen at 25 percent capacity (employees and contractors don't count toward that limit). While restrooms at these facilities may open, locker rooms and showers must remain closed as must interactive functions, like children’s play areas and video arcades.

The state recommends operators  space equipment six feet apart and disinfect anything that comes into contact with customers. Read more safety guidelines for both operators and patrons.


Manufacturers can reopen at 25 percent capacity. The state minimum health recommendations include a staggered workforce and social distancing practices between employees. More info here.

Massage and Other Personal-care and Beauty Services

While there isn't a complete list online, some of these businesses include:

  • Massage establishments and massage services by licensed therapists or other licensed persons
  • Electrolysis
  • Waxing
  • Tattoo and piercing studios
  • Hair loss treatment and growth services

Because of the close proximity between employees and clients, the state has provided a list of “strongly recommended” guidelines for these businesses, such as not allowing employees who’ve had COVID-19 to return before the end of a 14-day isolation period, removing magazines from waiting areas and encouraging contactless payment. Click here for that full list of guidelines for operators and those for customers, too.   

Office-based Work

People who work in an office may return to work so long as the space does not exceed 25 percent occupancy and there's at least six feet between workers. Employers are recommended to stagger their workforce (allowing certain groups to come in on certain days) and to encourage remote work where possible. 

Employees should carry hand sanitizer, wear masks, and only allow four people in an elevator at one time. Here are the state's recommendations for employers and for employees.

Youth Clubs

Youth organizations can resume meetings, so long as they don't exceed 10 people at any one time and there's six feet between individuals. Some of the youth clubs allowed include:

  • Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
  • TOP Teens (of TOP Ladies of Distinction),
  • Future Farmers of America
  • Girls Inc.

Here's a list of recommended safety protocols for club meetings and individual participants

Reopening May 22 

Aquariums, Natural Caverns, and Similar Facilities 

If permitted by local government, these facilities may reopen at 25 percent capacity, but interactive exhibits or functions, such as child play areas, must remain closed.

While individual locations can choose to adopt more stringent guidelines, the strike force has provided minimum safety recommendations. For example, providing condiments in their restaurants only by request, and barricading off frequently touched items, like handrails.  Read more on those safety recommendations and visitor recommendations, too.

Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcasting, and Skating Rinks

These facilities may reopen at 25 percent capacity, while maintaining social distancing practices, i.e. six feet between bowling lanes. Interactive functions, such as children’s play areas and video arcades, must remain closed. 

Recommended safety guidelines for the facilities include sanitizing rental equipment before and after use and requiring all employees to wear face masks. Customers are recommended to carry hand sanitizer and use it after entering the facility. For more customer recommendations, click here. 

Rodeo and Equestrian Events

While we lost out on RodeoHouston this year, rodeos and equestrian events can be held beginning May 22, so long as facilities do not exceed 25 percent occupancy. However, only rodeo and equestrian events can reopen. Larger gatherings that might include these events, such as a county fair, aren’t permitted yet.

The state has listed minimum recommended safety guidelines, including remote ticketing, alternating rows of spectators, and even suggesting competitors wait in their cars before and after races. Plus, everyone should wash or sanitize their hands before entering the venue. For a complete list of guidelines, click here.

Reopening May 26

Driving Schools

Drivers education schools may reopen at 25 percent classroom capacity at this time. Students and instructors should keep six feet apart from each other except during in-car instructions and DPS road tests. The state recommends for driving school vehicles to be cleaned and disinfected before any driving lesson or road exam. Some specific areas to clean are the steering wheel, turn signal levers, and transmission shifter knob. For a complete list of guidelines, click here.

Reopening May 29


If permitted by local government, zoos can reopen at 25 percent of the normal operating limits—so you might be able to visit Nelson, the Houston Zoo’s newest baby elephant, sooner than you thought. However, all indoor areas, except for restrooms, must remain closed.

The minimum safety recommendations for zoos and zoo visitors are the same as aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities. Here are the safety recommendations and visitor recommendations.

Water Parks

Both indoor and outdoor water parks, like Schlitterbahn, can reopen at 25 percent indoor capacity, so long as interactive functions, such as children's play areas, amusement, and video game areas, remain closed. 

Minimum safety recommendations include using engineering controls, like dividers between individuals, to minimize the spread of the virus. Additionally, visitors are recommended to wear masks when around people outside of their party. Although, the strike force notes, "Face coverings may not be feasible while in the water." 

Here are the safety recommendations and visitor recommendations.


Reopening May 31 

Youth Sports

Youth Sports, including Little League, can resume practice on May 31. One parent or guardian per player may attend as a spectator as needed. Games and competitions may resume on June 15 so long as spectators sit six feet apart. Spectators should wear masks and all equipment should be sanitized.

Check out the recommended guidelines for both sports operators and participating families.

Adult Recreational Sports

While games and competitions cannot begin until June 15, adult recreation sports leagues can resume playing beginning May 31. Health recommendations are similar to youth sports programs. 

Check out the recommended guidelines for both sports operators and participants.

Pro Sports

Professional sporting leagues, including basketball, baseball, car racing, football, golf, softball, and tennis, may apply to the Department of State Health Services to begin holding events beginning May 31.

However, spectators are not allowed to attend games/events at this time. So, sorry,  you can’t watch the Astros at Minute Maid Park, but you might be able watch them again on TV.

Day Youth Camps

Day camps can begin on or after May 31. The state is providing minimum health recommendations for the camp operators, such as limiting staff with underlying health conditions and requiring all staff should wear face masks. Additionally, parents and guardians should not visit the camp during or between sessions except to pick up or drop off children. Excursions away from camp are strongly discouraged.

Campers should limit in-person contact with people with underlying health conditions and with people age 65 and older during camp and for 14 days after the camp session ends. For more family recommendations, click here

Overnight Youth Camps

Overnight camps are allowed to reopen for the summer, beginning on May 31. The state is providing minimum health recommendations, including asking counselors and staff to wear masks and to report to campgrounds seven-to-10 days prior to the start of session. Staff should follow cabin and dining hygiene plans.

Parents should not tour campgrounds or cabins during camper drop-off and campers should not leave the campgrounds until the end of session, unless sick. For more family recommendations, click here.

Revised recommendations for previously opened businesses

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