El Paso

221 N. Kansas, Suite 1700
El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915.533.4424
Fax: 915.546.5360

Austin

316 West 12th Street, Suite 200, 
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512.320.5466
Fax: 512.320.5431

Las Cruces

3800 E. Lohman Ave., Suite C
Las Cruces, NM 88011
Phone: 575.527.0023
Fax: 915.546.5360

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Texas HHS Issues Minimum Recommended Health Protocols as Phase One of the Texas Re-Opening Commences this Week

This week Governor Greg Abbott announced the first phase of the plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, museums, and libraries are permitted to open this Friday, May 1, 2020. These services must limit their capacity to 25% of their occupancy limitation. Governor Abbott’s executive order re-opening Texas supersedes any conflicting orders issued by local officials in response to COVID-19.

In response to the executive order, the Texas Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released minimum recommended health protocols for employers in Texas to help mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 in workplaces that will re-open on May 1st. Here are the highlights of the minimum health protocols:

1. Train employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette;

2. Screen employees before coming into the workplace and send home any employee that exhibits new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19;

3. Do not allow employees who were diagnosed with COVID-19 to return to the workplace until at least 3 days have passed since recovery, the employee has improvement in respiratory symptoms, and at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared;

4. Have employees wash and sanitize their hands upon entering the workplace;

5. Require that employees maintain at least 6 feet distance from each other;

6. Consider requiring employees to wear face coverings in the workplace;

7. Regularly and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces regularly touched, such as doorknobs, tables, chairs, and restrooms; and

8. Make hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water, or similar disinfectant readily available to employees.

The minimum health protocols may be found here: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/opentexas.aspx. If you have any questions about the Texas HHS’s minimum recommended health protocols, please feel free to contact Kemp Smith’s Labor and Employment Department at 915-533-4424.