Since businesses were shut down in mid-March due to the Chinese coronavirus, the state has been on a slow and steady track of reopening under a phased approach.
Now, a recently reported uptick in confirmed cases of the virus in Texas has put those plans on hold.
On Thursday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a “temporary pause” on additional reopening phases, while noting that he does not want to go backwards and close down businesses again.
“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” said Abbott. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”
Additionally, Abbott announced an executive order once again suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties.
“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19, and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients,” Abbott said.
Abbott also implored Texans to wear masks, as well as follow commonsense health precautions such as washing hands regularly.
“I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”
Currently in Phase III, most businesses are allowed to be open at 50 percent capacity. Since June 12, restaurants have been allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity.
It has not yet been revealed what additional reopening steps would take place in Phase IV.