Over the past six weeks or more, Texans have faced the most serious public health threat in over a century. Thanks to the swift action taken by President Trump and Governor Abbott, along with the incredible cooperation of Texans across our great state, the spread of the Coronavirus has been much slower than projected. Even still, Denton County has one of the highest numbers of Coronavirus cases per 100,000 in population. Every life lost is a tragedy.
But that’s not all. There are also too many Texans suffering through unemployment, mounting bills and incredible stress. Though Texas has confirmed 25,000 Coronavirus cases throughout the state, nearly every one of the 29 million Texans has felt the severe economic impact of the fight against this virus.
Today, Governor Greg Abbott announced his plan to reopen Texas businesses. He announced:
• The “Stay-at-Home” Executive Order will expire April 30th.
• Phase I Executive Order to reopen Texas will begin May 1st.
o Restaurants, retail shopping, movie theaters, shopping malls, museums and libraries can reopen with limited occupancy of no greater than 25%.
o Churches and places of worship may expand capacity.
o Doctors, nurses and dentists may to return to work with few restrictions, though all hospitals must retain 15% capacity for Coronavirus patients.
o Construction companies, manufacturers, gas stations, auto dealers and other businesses which have been operating may continue to do so.
o This EO will supersede all local restrictions.
• Depending on the data, Phase II could begin as early as May 18th and could expand to 50% capacity and greater activities.
• Barber shops, hair salons, bars and gyms are not yet cleared by medical professionals, but the hope is that the data will suggest they can reopen during Phase II.
I applaud Governor Abbott for working with proven medical professionals and for heeding the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force on an approach to meet the needs of patients and to develop a plan to reopen Texas businesses as safely and as quickly as possible. Now, it is as important as ever to continue to use good judgement and to maintain proper health practices, including social distancing and regularly washing hands, as we start to emerge from this economic shutdown.
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