On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled his plan to reopen the state from its government-mandated coronavirus shutdown. But the response from the grassroots in North Texas was less than enthusiastic.

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 task 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.

The response from the grassroots was less than enthusiastic.

“The government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers,” Michelle Smith, a leader of the popular Facebook group Open Texas, told Texas Scorecard. “All businesses are essential to the health of our economy, and those people have to feed their families.”

“How can you say that a dental hygienist, and a dentist, and a doctor can maintain their distancing and keep their businesses functioning, but yet a hairdresser and a nail salon cannot?”

Smith said nail salons and hairdressers are “not being represented across the state right now.”

“What would Sam Houston think … what would Stephen F. Austin think?” said Conservative Leader Award winner Joel Starnes. “Texas did not fight for their independence from a totalitarian government only to find itself under one now.”

“Waste of time,” said Steve Gurley. “[I]t’s not worth it to businesses or restaurants to open at 25% capacity… and sports for 4 or less???  What a joke.”

“Movie theaters open but not baseball fields?” asked Debbie Bonenberger. “Makes no sense!”

“Falls woefully short,” Nancy Dillard said. “I guess I expected too much.”

“Contact tracers?” asked Katheryn Moore regarding Abbott’s plan for recruiting, training, and mobilizing contact tracers throughout the state. “Nope. Open Texas now, Mr. Governor!”

“My response is it doesn’t matter what Gov. Abbott says. I’m going to remain open and stay open no matter what,” Shelley Luther of Salon A La Mode told Texas Scorecard. Luther said it is “sad and frustrating” that Abbott plans to wait until May 18 to reopen hair salons.

Warren Norred, Luther’s attorney, gave the following statement to Texas Scorecard:

“We’re going to file [an] application—Writ of Mandamus—before the Texas Supreme Court, and it’s going to ask the county judges, specific county judges who have orders that are unconstitutional, be enjoined from enforcing those orders because they don’t make law.”

Yesterday evening, Luther shared on social media that Abbott had contacted her “to get salons open sooner” and that she would be meeting with James Huffines, the head of Abbott’s reopening strike force. This morning on the Mark Davis Show, Luther said that someone in the Abbott administration said the governor wants to reopen salons soon.

Abbott’s full plan may be found here. Concerned Texans may contact the governor’s office.

Robert Montoya

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