AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday gave Texas hair and nail salons permission to reopen this week and gyms later this month, emphasizing that the state’s coronavirus infection rates are declining.
Abbott’s announcement comes even as health experts continue to warn that easing restrictions too quickly will result in new hotspots.
In letting barbershops and hair salons open starting Friday, Abbott seemed to be moving faster than he suggested even a week ago when he allowed stay-at-home-orders in Texas to expire and let restaurants and retailers to reopen under limited capacity.
Texas has 33,000 cases and more than 900 deaths linked to the virus. But Abbott continued to stress that the infection rate in Texas is below 5 percent, which is down from more than 7 percent two weeks ago.
An Associated Press analysis found that the five-day rolling average for new cases nationwide has decreased from 9.3 per 100,000 people three weeks ago on April 13 to 8.6 on Monday.
Earlier Tuesday, two Republican state lawmakers let reporters film them getting their hair cut at a barbershop in defiance of Abbott’s order.
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