Gov. Abbott plans to slowly reopen Texas businesses, but is it a good idea?


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott hinted again at the possibility of reopening certain sectors of the state’s economy on Monday, saying he would prioritize industries with “minimal or zero impact on the spread of COVID-19.”

“This is not going to be a rush the gates, everybody is able to suddenly reopen all at once. We have to understand that we must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Abbott said.

Abbott first mentioned a possible executive order to stimulate the economy last Friday, where he said it was essential for Texans to get back to work.

“We will focus on restoring lives while protecting livelihoods. 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,” the Governors said on Friday.

Judge Sarah Eckhardt signed a new order, extending the previous “Stay Home, Work Safe” order for Travis County through May 8, 2020. The order also adds a requirement to wear face coverings in public spaces.

It is still unclear which industries Governor Greg Abbott would open first. A spokesperson for the Governor’s office declined to comment, directing KXAN to be on the lookout for an executive order to come later this week.

Community response

KXAN’ digital-first team reached out to viewers on both Facebook and Twitter. We wanted to find out how you felt about the possibility of reopening some Texas industries.

Many people engaged with the social media posts, sharing their opinions about the possibility.

Roxanne Hughes, a now stay-at-home mom in Bastrop, lost her job because of the pandemic. But she says she’d rather be safe than hurry to get back to work.

“I think the worst thing that we want to do is push for something that could ultimately blow up in our faces,” Hughes said. “I have kids and I just want to make sure that when we go to the playground, we are not walking into a germ nightmare.”

Sergio Sanchez, who owns a bar and a welding shop in Round Rock, said he has lost thousands of dollars in revenue after closing down his location. Even still, he’s unsure he is ready to see doors open for industries to allow patrons to roam freely and potentially worsen the spread of the virus.

“What determines what sectors need to be open and which ones don’t? That’s really the question and I don’t think anyone knows the answer, honestly,” Sanchez said. “If I look at it from an economical standpoint, then yes, of course, let me open my bar, I need the revenue. I need to make some money. But as a human, what determines what’s the right step to take, you know?”

Around the nation

Governors in the northeast are working together to talk through how to resume business operations.

Leaders in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts agreed they need a unified plan.

They held a conference call on Monday and spoke by phone during New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s briefing with reporters. Cuomo weighed in on what President Trump said about having the sole authority to reopen parts of the country.

“The state’s closed. It is an interesting construct that it wasn’t the federal responsibility to close the economy, but it is the federal government’s responsibility to open the economy. If it’s your authority to open, then why wasn’t it your authority to close?” Cuomo asked rhetorically.

Deliberations on a plan to re-open the economy in the Northeast will begin as soon as tomorrow.

Something similar is in the works on the West Coast. The Governors of California, Oregon and Washington announced a framework where they will reopen as a region.

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