Texans will be able to hit the streets again, as stay-at-home restrictions issued April 2 by Gov. Greg Abbott expired May 1. Retail stores, movie theaters and restaurants are among the businesses allowed to reopen in the first phase of the governor’s plan, which only allows businesses to have 25% occupancy.

Many businesses statewide have said they will delay opening. While some officials have touted plenty of testing available, others are wary.

In Hays County, 1,787 tests have been administered among 230,000 residents. The number of cases stood at 165 as of April 30.

County Judge Ruben Beccera said on April 28 he hopes to provide a heat map showing where county cases have been reported, abiding by HIPAA laws at the same time. In talks with other county leaders, Becerra said he hopes expanded testing will help county residents feel safe.

“The best way to open is to expand testing in our county,” Becerra said, pointing to the governor’s goal of 25,000 tests a day for the state. “It’s been a lot of work, but more testing is the key to what we are doing.”

According to Johns Hopkins data, Texas reported 889 new cases April 30, with 53 deaths. Data shows the state lags in testing with 330,300 tests administered, or 11,845 per one million residents. With 28,455 total cases and 802 deaths, only six states have tested fewer residents per million.

District 4 Commissioner Walt Smith said counties and cities are left to address some “pretty big holes in the governor’s document that we have to address." He would like to have more information from the business owners in the county.

“I think we have some real strong business leaders in our community,” Smith said. “I would love to bring some of those folks together virtually and see what they see in their industries. What are the economic indicators we want to address?”

Smith said the impact on the communities will be different. His district which includes Dripping Springs is heavily reliant on weddings and tourism, different from San Marcos which is boosted by Texas State University, retail and tourism.

Chambers of commerce in San Marcos, Kyle and Buda have been supportive of small businesses during the closing, offering financial help and meetings to work through the economic shutdown.

In Kyle, Mayor Travis Mitchell addressed his city in a Facebook live message on April 29. While the city of Kyle has had the highest numbers of coronavirus in the county from the beginning, he attributed the numbers to testing of family members once a positive case is identified.

“We’ve had a lot of access to testing and we have been able to test complete households,” Mitchell said, touting his city’s strength of medical facilities. “Several dozen of our cases are from a few households.”

Kyle has 72 confirmed cases, with 39 who have recovered. San Marcos has 51 confirmed cases with 33 recovered. Buda has 21 cases. The only county death was a Buda resident, while 15 have recovered, according to statistics from Hays County.

City and neighborhood association pools, along with playground equipment in Kyle will remain closed through the first phase.

“Check on your neighbors,” Mitchell said. “We are all struggling right now in a really unique way. Some of us are blessed to have jobs and some are struggling with work, child care, and to pay their bills. Love each other well over the next few weeks and hopefully this summer we are going to get back to normal.”

In San Marcos, city facilities will remain closed including the library, parks and playscapes. Those will be re-evaluated, according to the city, at the second phase May 18.

As a community, this is our opportunity to reopen our economy with everyone’s safety in mind,” Mayor Jane Hughson said in a statement from the city. “We strongly recommend that residents and business owners incorporate masks of face coverings, practice safe distancing measures, initiate sanitation protocols and continue responsible social practices so we can eventually open all businesses.”

Salons, barber shops, spas, gyms, bars, interactive amusement venues including bowling alleys and arcades, tattoo and piercing studios and massage establishments remain closed.

Any San Marcos business needing help to determine occupancy limits is asked to contact the San Marcos Fire Department prevention division at 512-805-2600 or [email protected] and an inspector will come to the location and calculate the allowed occupancy, according to the city.

Licensed hospitals under the new order must reserve 15% capacity for treating coronavirus patients.

In Buda, the city facilities will remain closed and services are available online.

The second phase for Texas, if there isn’t a spike in hospitalizations, could allow more businesses to open and all to have 50% capacity beginning May 18.

“We are Texans,” Abbott said as he announced reopening businesses. “We got this.”