Last Updated: April 29 at 4:16 p.m. CST

On April 27, Gov. Greg Abbott announced his plan to strategically open Texas businesses in phases, using input from the Strike Force to Open Texas.

Plan to Open Texas: Phase One

The first phase of Gov. Abbott’s Plan to Open Texas (May 1-May 15, 2020) is largely focused on the gradual reopening of non-essential commercial businesses, including retail services, dine-in restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping malls. Texas REALTORS® has been in close communication with the Strike Force to Open Texas, offering recommendations for safely expanding government services relevant to the real estate industry.

Gov. Abbott’s executive order to open Texas addresses several recommendations Texas REALTORS® provided to the Strike Force:

  • Reopen local government operations, including county and municipal governmental operations relating to permitting, recordation, and document-filing services, as determined by the local government.
  • Maintain residential and commercial real estate among essential services that may continue to be provided statewide.

In his remarks, Gov. Abbott specifically mentioned REALTORS® as an example of essential services that have been conducting business responsibly and safely and may continue.

Notary Services Expanded

On April 29, 2020, Gov. Abbott announced that real estate consumers may appear before a notary via videoconference when executing real estate documents, such as mortgages, to avoid in-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. This temporary suspension of the requirement for in-person notarizations will in effect until May 30, 2020 or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires. Read more