Texas was one of the first states to announce that they were going to very slowly start re-opening their economy amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. The Lone Star State has over 14,000 cases, with over 300 people dying from the disease. It’s highly contagious and no one is immune. Those who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic still spread the virus, which is why social distancing has been key. Yet, prior to President Trump’s presser yesterday offering guidelines on a phased-in re-opening, Texas was said to be offering their outline this week. Starting next week, some retail stores will be allowed to re-open, but for carside pickups only, similar to a restaurant. All schools will remain closed for the rest of the year (via Texas Tribune):
Abbott also named a "statewide strike force" devoted to getting the economy going again. Austin banker James Huffines will chair the task force, while veteran lobbyist Mike Toomey will lead its staff. The group will oversee what Abbott described as a phased reopening, starting Friday with additional announcements set for April 27 and sometime in May.
The first phase came in a series of executive orders issued Friday. One order allows for product pickup at retail stores — what Abbott described as "retail-to-go" — that will begin April 24. Outlets will be allowed to bring orders straight to customers' cars in a manner similar to how many restaurants are currently offering curbside pickup.
Another order, which goes into effect 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, will allow a limited amount of nonessential surgeries at hospitals, as long as those surgeries don't deplete the hospitals' supplies of personal protective equipment and allow the facilities to keep at least 25% of their capacity available for the treatment of patients with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
A third order will allow state parks to open Monday. Visitors to parks will be required to wear masks and keep a safe distance from people outside their households.
Additional openings will be announced April 27 "after further input from medical staff," Abbott said.
This won’t be a rushed process. We cannot open the floodgates and high infection rates might return, especially in hot spot areas. The Trump administration realizes this as well, which is why resets and reevaluations will be a huge part of this process. But Texas isn’t like New York City, which is the epicenter for most of the nation’s 660,000+ coronavirus cases. Over 30,000 Americans have been killed by the virus that attacks the respiratory system. Those who are 65 or older and the immunocompromised are at great risk of death if infected, though young people still get sick and die from the virus, some already have. Regardless, President Trump said that a solid chunk of the country, around 29 states, are either prepared or are on the cusp of initiating preliminary steps to re-opening their economies.
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