While nine members of the Texas House Freedom Caucus thanked Gov. Greg Abbott for “solid and steady leadership during this historic crisis,” the signers of a letter written Tuesday agree the time has come to let the economy breathe again during the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.
“The clear messages we are hearing [from constituents] lead us to this conclusion: Texas must immediately increase healthcare and business activity while maintaining protections for the most vulnerable Texans,” the letter said. “Accordingly, we respectfully ask that you loosen your state-wide executive order to the greatest extent possible while giving local jurisdictions the flexibility to respond to local conditions.”
On Monday, Gov. Abbott said later in the week or next week a plan would be unveiled to jump start the economy, which would be approached as a phase-in strategy.
Other points made in the letter include:
- Wuhan virus (yes, they used that name, too) is credible and serious. In addition to the deaths directly from the virus come indirect effects such as a reported increase in suicides, domestic abuse, and other health issues that come along with financial distress, which is quickly mounting.
- Hospitals in Texas have adequate capacity and are not overrun. “The healthcare systems [plural] in our communities are prepared to bend, but not break, should new outbreaks arise.”
- Non-essential businesses, like essential businesses, are capable of finding “ways to mitigate the risk within their stores,” etc.
- Individual responsibility is key to any successful mitigation strategy. The public should continue to be urged to practice social distancing, wash hands, wear masks, clean surfaces, and abide by CDC guidelines.
Reps. Mayes Middleton (chairman), Matt Schaefer (vice chairman), Matt Krause, Kyle Biedermann, Briscoe Cain, Mike Lang, Valoree Swanson, Tony Tinderholt, and Bill Zedler signed the letter, posted below.