As some Texas businesses prepare to partially reopen on Friday as part of the first phase of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas, many Texans have taken issue with the speed—or lack thereof—of the phased approach previewed earlier this week.
Now even more lawmakers are joining the chorus, demanding a swifter timeline for the reopening of all businesses.
The first phase of the plan allows select businesses—such as retail, restaurants, and movie theaters—to reopen on Friday, albeit it at a reduced 25 percent capacity. Other businesses—such as salons, bars, and gyms—will
State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) has taken to Twitter, loudly requesting that Abbott “OPEN THE ECONOMY NOW.”
— ???????????????????????????? ???????????????? (@BriscoeCain) April 28, 2020
Cain has also encouraged businesses to defy closing orders, suggesting “they can’t jail us all.”
Open your business! They can’t jail us all.
— ???????????????????????????? ???????????????? (@BriscoeCain) April 29, 2020
Indeed, in recent days, some small businesses have reopened—or made plans to reopen—in defiance of orders to stay closed. Perhaps the most notable case is Salon À la Mode in Dallas, which has seen its owner, Shelley Luther, under siege from local officials after she reopened her salon last Friday while implementing social distancing and safety precautions.
After Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sent her a cease-and-desist letter, threatening arrest, the Texas Freedom Caucus sent a letter to Jenkins, urging him to rescind the order, adding that they did not accept his “tyranny” and comparing him to Santa Anna.
Here is our letter to Dallas County Judge @JudgeClayJ demanding that he cease his Santa Anna-like intimidation tactics against salon owner Shelley Luther:https://t.co/Cqj2INcy3u pic.twitter.com/JRsfQAG0m9
— Texas Freedom Caucus (@TxFreedomCaucus) April 29, 2020
State Rep. James White (R–Hillister) didn’t mince words in his message to Abbott, emphatically tweeting, “Respectfully, ENOUGH!!! You are the only one that can STOP this!!! ENOUGH!!!”
@GregAbbott_TX Respectfully, ENOUGH!!! You are the only one that can STOP this!!! ENOUGH!!! Tx is supposed to be the #1 state for business & for women entrepreneurs. Throughout Tx we have sting operations & DA investigations! ENOUGH!!! https://t.co/tIfHK5x79R
— Rep. James White (@James_E_White) April 29, 2020
In a letter addressed to Abbott, State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Plano) called on businesses not included in the original first phase of the reopening plan, such as barbershops and personal trainers, to be allowed to open in an effort to keep their finances afloat.
The barbers, hair and nail salon owners and personal trainers in #HD67 can safely get back to work, supporting their families and employees and keeping their businesses afloat. Today I sent this letter to @GovAbbott asking that they be allowed to do so. #OpenTexas #txlege pic.twitter.com/ExLxRhLoca
— Jeff Leach (@leachfortexas) April 29, 2020
Even State Rep. Dan Flynn (R–Van), who is often aligned with the Republican establishment in Austin, has joined the call, similarly imploring Abbott to open up remaining businesses.
— Rep. Dan Flynn (@Dan_Flynn) April 30, 2020
Other Republican lawmakers—including State Rep. Steve Toth (The Woodlands), State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (Bedford), State Rep. Mike Lang (Granbury), State Sen. Angela Paxton (McKinney), and State Sen. Bob Hall (Edgewood)—had previously urged Abbott to reopen the state economy ahead of his announcement this past Monday.
Though Abbott has previously stated he did not expect additional businesses to open up until mid-May, tentatively offering May 18 as a potential date for the second phase of the state’s reopening, growing pressure from citizens and lawmakers alike could alter those plans.