Texas Gov. Abbott hints he's open to allowing to-go alcohol sales permanently

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hinted that to-go sales of alcoholic beverages, which the state authorized to help keep restaurants afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, can continue once the crisis comes to an end.

“Alcohol-to-go sales can continue after May 1,” Abbott tweeted Tuesday. “From what I hear from Texans, we may just let this keep on going forever.”

The May 1 date is when Abbott has decided Texas can begin the first phase of reopening its economy.

Retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls can reopen on that day -- but only at 25 percent of their listed occupancy, as per Executive Order (GA-18).

Restaurants have been limited to serving only on a to-go basis since coronavirus-related restrictions were put in place in March. The restrictions led to a drastic economic slowdown, with businesses and local governments losing revenue and employees put out of work.

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Bars must remain closed through the state's Phase I plan.

"Now more than ever, Texans must remain committed to safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we must continue to rely on doctors and data to provide us with the safest strategies to restore Texans' livelihoods,” Abbott said in a press release announcing the plan.

Libraries and museums can also reopen Friday -- with the same 25 percent occupancy and interactive display restrictions.

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Outdoor sports will be allowed as long as they include no more than four participants, and social distancing requirements are still in place.

Texas has seen the 10th-most confirmed coronavirus cases out of the 50 states as of Thursday morning, with more than 27,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. It is not in the top 10 for most deaths.

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The U.S. has seen more than 1 million confirmed cases and more than 60,000 COVID-19 deaths.

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