Big Lake restaurants and retail stores can open back up Friday.

Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas would be using a phased approach to reopening the economy.

Phase I of the plan gives restaurants and other retail businesses the green light to open back up on Friday with the restriction of allowing 25 percent of their building's occupancy inside at a time. Rural counties may up that percentage to 50 if they have less than five confirmed cases of COVID-19.

After Governor Abbott announced the plan to begin phasing in the Texas economy, Reagan County Judge Jim O'Bryan submitted an application to the State requesting Reagan County be able to move to Phase II of the plan - boosting the 25 percent occupancy restriction up to 50 percent.

"We currently have zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 attributed to our county," O'Bryan said. "That puts us well below the five case threshold set forth by Governor Abbott."

O'Bryan said he is just as anxious as anyone to open the local economy back up.



"We will see how this goes right now," O'Bryan said. "We will operate under the 50 percent rule right now, but people need to be careful not to abuse it."

O'Bryan said, if people can not follow the occupancy restrictions, he may have to tighten the county back down to the Phase I figure of 25 percent occupancy.

"We may have to move that direction if positive cases begin to pop up locally as well," O'Bryan said. "I want everyone to know this whole situation is one that has weighed heavy on my mind. None of the decisions we've made have been taken lightly."

Governor Abbott announced during his press conference Monday that he will allow the State's stay-at-home order expire on Thursday as scheduled.

Abbott said retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls will be able to open up across the State under the Phase I 25 percent occupancy restriction.

The 25 percent includes staff and customers.

Museums and libraries will also be able to open with the 25 percent occupancy restriction, but all hands-on exhibits must remain closed.

Businesses such as hair salons, barbershops, bars, gyms and massage parlors must remain closed at this time, but he hopes those businesses may open no later than mid-May.

Outdoor sports, such as golf and tennis, are allowed under the new guideline as long as groups are no larger than four people and social distancing is respected.

Abbott established a different standard aimed at rural counties with little COVID-19 presence, saying counties with five or fewer cases can effectively skip to Phase II and reopen businesses at 50 percent capacity.

Counties wishing to utilize the jump to Phase II had to submit an application with the State.

Reagan County submitted its application on Monday evening.

Reagan County Emergency Coordinator Destin Wilha said the county is able to move forward with the 50 percent occupancy rate since the county was able to check off every item on the list.

Abbott stressed the elderly community and anyone with underlying conditions should remain at home to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Abbott released a book, Governor's Report to Open Texas, which outlines the steps and precautions businesses and consumers must follow as the economy is opened up.

A digital version of the book can be found HERE