Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is planning to issue an executive order next week that will include guidance to businesses on how to re-open, a key phase in emerging from the virtual lockdown the state is under.
Like most states in America, recent orders in Texas mandate residents largely stay at home unless they’re taking so-called essential trips, in a bid to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
The new order will “focus on protecting lives while restoring livelihoods,” Abbott told reporters on Friday.
“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. One thing about Texans, they so much enjoy working and I know they want to get back into the workforce. We have to articulate also the strategies about ways we can do this safely,” he added.
State officials are in contact with the White House to make sure the new guidelines will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officials on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and economic officials like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
A slew of European nations are starting to re-open and President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he hopes to have the United States re-open soon. The near-nationwide lockdowns have led to millions of people losing their jobs and fears of related impacts like higher suicide rates and shorter life spans.
Confirmed CCP virus cases in Texas rose to 11,449 on Friday, with 1,532 in hospitals and 221 killed by the new illness from China. But the growth rate has slowed down after social distancing measures were implemented last month, officials said, while the percentage of cases requiring hospital care has remained steady at around 10 percent of those who test positive.
The number of recovered patients in the state increased to 1,366, one of the highest counts in the nation.
Abbott declined to give full details on his planned order but said one component will be testing. A two-pronged testing approach, using tests to see who has the virus and other tests to see who has had the virus in the past, indicating likely immunity, has been recommended by federal officials.
“We will operate strategically. We want to open up, but we want to open up safely, knowing that, if we do it too fast, without the appropriate strategies, it will just lead to a potential closure because of another outbreak of COVID-19,” Abbott, a Republican, told reporters.
“We all have a desire to get things going as quickly as possible, but we also have a desire to make sure that it’s done in ways that are safe.”
Texas, according to Abbott, “has always led economically.”
“We will lead economically in response to the aftermath of COVID-19, but we will understandably do so that we will do so in ways that protect lives and promote the livelihoods of our fellow Texans,” he said.