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Texas Governor Greg Abbott is considering getting his state back on its feet in the wake of the coronavirus crisis by reopening the economy.
The Republican lawmaker announced on Friday that he may be signing an executive order next week that will help businesses in the state can to reopen “in a way that will be safe,” even as President Trump announced the same day that he is looking to ease the federal government’s social distancing guidelines.
“Next week I will be providing an executive order talking about what will be done in Texas about reopening Texas businesses,” Abbott said at a news conference on Friday.
“We will focus on protecting lives while restoring livelihoods,” he said, assuring that the process will be done “in a way that will be safe for that economic revitalization.”
“We can and we must do this. We can do both, expand and restore the livelihoods that Texans want to have by helping them return to work,” he added. “One thing about Texans, they enjoy working and they want to get back into the workforce. We have to come up with strategies on how we can do this safely.”
Though the details were not provided at the press conference, Abbott noted that he would be providing businesses with a list of guidelines in helping them to safely reopen. An executive order issued by Abbott on March 19 ordered the closing of schools, restaurants, bars and gyms in the state.
“We will operate strategically,” Abbott added. “If we do it too fast without appropriate strategies, it will lead to another potential closure.”
The state’s stay-at-home order closing non-essential businesses and dine-in restaurants was set to last until April 30. Abbott announced last week that residents of the state with immunity will be going back to work first. Part of the upcoming plan to restart the Texas economy will include testing for the coronavirus, according to Abbott.
Texas currently has over 12,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 248 deaths as of the time of this writing, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Abbott was asked about his plan in an interview with KPRC, and expressed how he has been working with federal officials including President Trump in addressing the return of the nation’s economy. Trump announced Friday that he will be discussing the launch of an “Opening our Country task force” made up of doctors and business leaders next week.
“We must articulate the pathway of how we go about this process. In doing so, making sure that people are going to be safe, making sure that we do not re-ignite the same spread of coronavirus by everybody rushing the gates automatically,” he said.
Abbott reiterated that Texans should still stay home at the moment and help stop the spread of the virus but added that his state “will lead the way” in reopening the economy. He did not provide a timeline for the plan but said it would be shared next week as he emphasized that, not only do people want to get back to work, his administration wants the same.
The governor told KVUE in an interview that strategies needed to expedite the process could be implemented in “a few weeks.”
“You can’t just open up all businesses all of the sudden, because if that were to happen we would see a rise in the coronavirus again,” Abbott told KVUE. “So what we will be talking about next week is an executive order talking about how we’re going to go about this process of opening up business, and that must include the appropriate medical strategies to make sure that we are not going to be increasing the spread of the coronavirus.”
While the alarms were still being raised by some who worried about sparking a new rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, many on social media expressed support for Abbott’s decision.
Thank you Governor Abbott
GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to unveil an executive order with guidelines on how businesses can reopen.https://t.co/dYuHNhlgiA
— Jan (@Jan72452338) April 11, 2020
Finally a brave Governor!
— Ziiggii (@realZiiggii) April 11, 2020
@GregAbbott_TX We the people strongly urge you/our Governor of the great state of Texas to reopen every aspect of our state and our daily lives. Thank you.
— Blake McNair (@BlakeMcNair2) April 9, 2020
— Yolonda M Brown (@Moniera1) April 11, 2020
This is america!!! The land of opportunity!!!! Reopen texas!!!
— linda thomas (@lthomas2074) April 10, 2020
It’s time to move to Texas
— _Jezzie_ (@Jezzie_K) April 11, 2020
Thank you @GovAbbott for your leadership and sanity in this insane time!
— TKen_Patriot ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@patriot_tken) April 11, 2020
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