Texas began reopening Friday with restaurant patrons gravitating toward patios and sparsely filled shopping malls. Photographer Allison V. Smith and KERA News reporter Bill Zeeble spent the day documenting how North Texans are getting out and about.
The breezy, sunny day helped encourage eating outside in the shade at Dream Café in Dallas.
Susan Washerlesky, a now out-of-work dental hygienist, came to eat with daughter Ryleigh, who’s home early from college in Corpus Christi, thanks to the pandemic.
“We were just ready to get back to normalcy, I think,” Washerlesky said. “And it’s a beautiful day.”
Dallas staple El Fenix also reopened to dine-in customers. Photographer Allison V. Smith captured staff dutifully waiting for customers at the Casa Linda location.
NorthPark Center was one of the malls that reopened with reduced hours, and only the Park Lane and Northwest Highway entrances were open.
New COVID-19 deaths in Texas declined Friday, the day Republican Gov. Greg Abbott lifted stay-at-home orders. That came a day after 50 people died in Texas, a single-day record since the pandemic began.
More than 120 people have died over the past three days in the state, the worst stretch since the first Texas coronavirus diagnosis in March. Abbott eased restrictions because, he said, hospitalizations remain steady and infection rates are down.
Gov. Abbott stressed earlier in the week that no business included in the first phase of his plan was required to open, and that other sectors, including gyms, barber shops and salons, must stay closed for at least the next few weeks.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.