Updated: 12:39 p.m.
As cases are on the downtrend, President Donald Trump issued a three-phase plan to jump start the economy following coronavirus/COVID-19-related shutdowns. Following on that, and as expected, Gov. Greg Abbott joined other state leaders in issuing Texas’s plan.
“We have demonstrated that we can corral the coronavirus,” Abbott said at a noon press conference.
Some business and institution openings will be announced today, Abbott announced. (Check here.)
Additional openings to be announced on April 27, Abbott added. Phased-in strategy to be announced then, including testings and hospital readiness parameters, he said. A third round of openings to be announced in May, “when it has been determined that the transmission rate has continued to decline,” Abbott continued. The current shelter-in-place/stay-at-home order expires on April 30, but future orders could continue parts of it, Abbott said during media questions.
Below are some notes:
State parks to be re-opened on Monday, but face coverings and social distancing must be maintained. No groups larger than 5.
School buildings closed for remainder of year, public and private. Video-based instruction still allowed. Education Commissioner Mike Morath to issue further details.
At least three executive orders have been issued. See below for text when available.
- Order 1: Strike force created to reopen Texas businesses and other institutions.
- Order 2: Addresses medical staff, their equipment needs, etc. On April 22, current restrictions on surgery will be loosened.
- Order 3: Concerns retailers, allowing all stores in Texas to operate retail-to-go beginning Friday, April 24. Details forthcoming on Texas Department of State Health Services website.
Abbott created a “strike force” consisting of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Comptroller Glenn Hegar, with medical advisers John Hellerstadt, McClellan, Hudson, Rep. John Zerwas. “They will work together to create a medical architecture” to address COVID-19. Former Rick Perry Chief of Staff and lobbyist Mike Toomey will spearhead business task force to reopen economy.
Additionally, “employees should not be coerced to go back to work,” Abbott said, answering media questions following the conference. Members of the press allowed into the press conference were particularly concerned with testing abilities and protocols, and whether taxes would be impacted by dwindling unemployment funds availability.