AUSTIN (KXAN) — Runoff primary elections in Texas have been postponed until July 14, Gov. Greg Abbott announced in a recent proclamation.

The runoff election date was originally scheduled for May 26, but is being moved as the state fights the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the largest counties in Texas begin to issue shelter-at-home orders, the postponed elections allow for Texans to focus on the coronavirus pandemic and practice social distancing.

In Gov. Abbott’s proclamation, he said “holding the runoff in May would cause the congregation of large gatherings of people in confined spaces and cause numerous election workers to come into close proximity with others” which would put the health and safety of Texans at risk.

July 14 is the same date as the special election for Texas State Senate District 14 which serves a portion of Travis County. State Sen. Kirk Watson resigned in February to join the University of Houston as a dean.

Early voting for the postponed runoff primary elections will begin Monday, July 6.