A day after Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled his plan to reopen Texas, North Texans rallied for the second week in a row, calling for Texans to be allowed to get back to work.

Yesterday, Abbott unveiled his strike force’s plan to reopen Texas after restrictions put in place to curb the Chinese coronavirus all but shut down businesses statewide. The first phase of the plan will allow movie theaters, restaurants, museums, and retail stores to reopen on May 1. Those businesses must adhere to strict guidelines laid out by the strike force, the most notable of which is a 25 percent occupancy limit.

The plan’s second phase will involve raising the occupancy of those businesses to 50 percent, as well as beginning to allow bars, barbershops, salons, and gyms to reopen their doors. Abbott set a target date of May 18 for possible reopenings in the second phase. However, Abbott’s office has since reached out to Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther, expressing a desire to work with her to reopen salons sooner. It has been reported that James Huffines, the chairman of Abbott’s strike force, will visit Luther’s salon.

The day after Abbott’s announcement, grassroots activists in North Texas attended a “Back to Work” rally in Dallas for the second week in a row.

Last Tuesday, they gathered outside the county administration building—where the county commissioners meet—to protest their shelter-in-place policy. “Shut down the shutdown,” they chanted.

Today, they again chanted, “Shut down the shutdown,” while marching in a circle at Dealey Plaza.

New faces joined the rally this week; among them was former State Sen. Don Huffines, who we asked for an opinion regarding Abbott’s press conference.

“I thought it was an embarrassment for the State of Texas,” Huffines told Texas Scorecard. “He shut all the businesses down in one day; he can open them all in one day.”

“It’s a start, so I was encouraged,” Lisa Luby Ryan replied when asked. “But we’re going to be out here rallying because every single job, not 25 percent of the jobs, but every single job is important.”

“If one job provides for one person, it’s essential.”

We asked Ryan about yesterday’s press release from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins stating he was having Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County’s Health and Human Services Department, and other medical advisors “carefully review” Abbott’s orders.

“Clay Jenkins, you don’t have authority over Gov. Abbott,” she replied. “John Wiley Price is on our side.”

Abbott revealed yesterday that at least 1.9 million Texans are now unemployed as a result of the government’s coronavirus shutdown. Ryan also had a message for them at the rally: “Don’t be silent.”

This protest is the latest of several sprouting across Texas, as citizens across the Lone Star State rally for the state to reopen. One protest was held in Frisco last Saturday, a number have been held in West Texas, and one was held in Austin.

Another rally is planned for next Tuesday, the same day as the next scheduled meeting of the Dallas County Commissioners Court.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.


The Deafening Silence of Fear

It's better we live courageously, fighting for rights and freedom, than cowardly, capitulating to tyranny out of fear, for a little comfort.