With government-ordered Chinese coronavirus shutdowns devastating the Texas economy and impacting the health and well-being of Texas families, Gov. Greg Abbott has continued to delay actions to reopen the state even as his colleagues across America look to reopen.
Though the severity of the pandemic has been thankfully far less than many experts predicted, each state in America has been hit differently by the effects of the Chinese coronavirus. That said, many states similar to Texas are already beginning to reopen.
For example, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, announced earlier this week that he’d begin allowing for a swift reopening of the Peach State.
Kemp’s order allows gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools, and massage therapists to resume operations by Friday as long as they comply with social distancing requirements.
On Monday, movie theaters may resume selling tickets, and restaurants limited to takeout orders will be able to offer limited dine-in service. However, bars and nightclubs will remain closed.
“In the same way that we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to mitigate the virus’ spread, today we’re announcing plans to incrementally and safely reopen sectors of our economy,” said Kemp. “This measure will apply statewide and will be the operational standard in all jurisdictions. This means local action cannot be taken that is more or less restrictive.”
Kemp is part of a six-state coalition of Republican governors in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee who are coordinating their reopening plans and sharing ideas.
That includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who took heat for refusing to issue large shutdown orders and reopened the state’s beaches; Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, who said Monday that his stay-at-home order set to expire on April 30 will not be renewed, and most businesses will be allowed to reopen on May 1; and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who has already begun reopening businesses.
And it’s not just Republicans. Even the Democrat governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, has laid out plans to lift the state’s stay-at-home order and reopen businesses, despite his state seeing more infections and deaths per capita than the Lone Star State.
Each of those decisions is in line with President Trump’s request for states to open swiftly. Abbott’s actions, meanwhile, are thus far in line with the request of the Democrat mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, who told CNN that he asked Abbott not to do more than lift the few restrictions he’s already lifted, rather than follow Georgia’s lead.
“If you go much further than that, if you start opening up everything, like what is taking place in Georgia,” Turner said, “then I think you run into a serious problem—creating a resurgence of this virus when people have sacrificed so much already and we have some very positive results.”
At Wednesday’s press conference, Abbott showed he would continue to allow Sylvester Turner and other local officials—many of them Democrats—to call the shots in Texas, declaring only that he would have an announcement on Monday, April 27, for plans to begin reopening the economy.
In the meantime, Abbott is urging the 1.2 million Texans who have lost jobs to apply for 488,000 jobs, many of which are temporary, at grocery stores and call centers.
It’s anyone’s guess on whether or not Abbott will reopen the Texas economy on Monday, but it’s already been determined that Texas will not lead the nation on responding to the Chinese coronavirus.
At best, the Lone Star State must simply follow.