Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tried to follow President Donald Trump’s suggestions for reopening and the result has left the state in a catastrophe.
As Houston’s ICU beds fill up, Abbott finally decided to pause the reopening plans he’d been implementing since the middle of May when Texas’ stay-at-home order ended.
“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of the virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” said Abbott in a written statement. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backward and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business. I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”
The statement comes just days after Abbott told Texans to stay home.
Last month, Abbott said that wearing a mask was just a suggestion.
“We strongly recommend that everyone wear a mask,” Abbott said. “However, it’s not a mandate. And we’ll make clear that no jurisdiction can impose any type of penalty or fine for anyone not wearing a mask.”
Abbott also made the move to block Texas cities from making their own rules about masks and shutdowns.
Texas is in Phase 3 of reopening, which reopens the state to 50 percent capacity.
“By way of Executive Order (GA-18), all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls are permitted to reopen on Friday, May 1,” the governor announced in April. “These services must limit their capacity to 25 percent of their listed occupancy. Within shopping malls, the food-court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed.”
On June 1, Phase 2 reopening allowed water parks and zoos to reopen along with in-person summer school classes may begin. Public Safety offices reopened June 3 and on June 15, “games and competitions for recreational sports programs, including for youth sports, can begin,” the governor said.
Rather than rolling back all of the reopenings that led to the huge number of cases in the state, Abbott is simply pausing any future reopening.
Read the release below:
— Priscilla Thompson (@PriscillaWT) June 25, 2020