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Posted on: September 18, 2020

Executive Order GA-30: How It Affects the Community

Person wiping a counter with a spray cleaner.

Unsure of how Executive Order GA-30 impacts businesses and residents? Here’s a breakdown of Governor Abbott’s order relating to the state’s continued response to the COVID-19 disaster as Texas reopens.

Main Points

The new Executive Order GA-30 supersedes GA-28, which was issued June 26. Relative to previous orders, the new order:

  • Keeps bars closed.
  • Increases maximum restaurant occupancy from 50 percent to 75 percent.
  • Limits outdoor gatherings to 10 people, other than those expressly allowed by the order or unless the mayor authorizes more.

Specifically, the new order retains these core features of GA-28:

  • “Except as provided in this executive order or in the minimum standard health protocols recommended by by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), found at, people should not be in groups larger than 10 and should maintain 6 feet of social distancing from those not in their group.”
  • “In providing or obtaining services, every person (including individuals, businesses, and other legal entities) should use good-faith efforts and available resources to follow the minimum standard health protocols recommended by DSHS.”
  • “Nothing in this executive order or the DSHS minimum standards precludes requiring a customer to follow additional hygiene measures when obtaining services.

Finally, GA-30 provides that “[a]ll existing state executive orders relating to COVID-19 are amended to eliminate confinement in jail as an available penalty for violating the executive orders.”

Gatherings Exempt from the 10-Person Limit

As set forth in GA-30, these events can take place with no occupancy limits:

  • Any services listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 4.0 or any subsequent version.
  • Religious services, including those conducted in churches, congregations and houses of worship.
  • Child care services.
  • Youth camps, including but not limited to those defined as such under Chapter 141 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and including all summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps for youths.
  • Recreational sports programs for youths and adults.
  • Any public or private schools, and any public or private institutions of higher education, not already covered above.
  • Drive-in concerts, movies, or similar events, under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing, that generally require spectators to remain in their vehicles, and that minimize in-person contact between people who are not in the same household or vehicle.

Main points on gatherings:

  1. Any outdoor gathering in the city limits in excess of 10 people is prohibited by the order (GA-30 #6), unless the mayor allows it.
  2. A mayor may allow a gathering in excess of 10 people in the city limits and may impose allowable conditions on the gathering (other than penalties for individuals who don’t wear a mask)(GA-30 #6).
  3. The order’s 50 percent occupancy limit does not apply to outdoor events, except those expressly listed in GA-30:
    • A mayor has no control over the following, which can operate at a maximum of 50 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the owner: (a) professional, collegiate, or similar sporting events; (b) swimming pools; (c) water parks; (d) museums and libraries; (e) zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities; and (f) rodeos and equestrian events.
  4. Amusement parks shall operate at no more than 50 percent of the normal operating limits, as determined by the owner.

Increased Occupancy Limits

GA-30 permits the following types of business establishments to increase service up to 75 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment, except for those establishments in regions in Texas with high hospitalizations:

  • In-store, non-CISA retail establishments.
  • Dine-in restaurants, defined as “[o]nly restaurants that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages, and whose customers eat or drink only while seated, may offer dine-in services.”
  • Non-CISA office buildings.
  • Non-CISA manufacturers.
  • Museums and libraries.
  • Gyms and exercise facilities and classes.

Also, the following establishments that operate with at least 6 feet of social distancing between work stations have no occupancy limits:

  • Cosmetology, hair and nail salons/shops, barber shops and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade.
  • Massage establishments and other facilities where licensed massage therapists or other persons licensed or otherwise authorized to practice under Chapter 455 of the Texas Occupations Code practice their trade.
  • Other personal care and beauty services, such as tanning salons, tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services, and hair loss treatment and growth services (GA-30 #4).

What remains closed?

  • Bars or similar establishments that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
  • Commercial rafting or tubing services, including rental of rafts or tubes and transportation of people for the purpose of rafting or tubing.

The best way to determine what’s open and which guidelines apply is to visit Governor Abbott’s Open Texas web page. That page indicates which activities are now allowed according to the guidance document linked for each type of business or activity.

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