(Natural News) Shutting down non-essential businesses was one of the best strategies employed by governors early on to control the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) and save lives.
And Texas was among the first states to impose lockdowns, given its huge population and size. Now, after having successfully bent the infection rate downward, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott is allowing some businesses to reopen with continued minor restrictions.
The Texas Tribune reports:
Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday said he will let the state’s stay-at-home order expire Thursday as scheduled and allow businesses to begin reopening in phases the next day, the latest ramp-up in his push to restart the Texas economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
First to open on Friday: retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls. But they will only be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Museums and libraries will also be allowed to open at 25% capacity, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed.
The governor noted that he is currently planning for Phase 2 of reopenings, which he said could come by May 18 as long as Texas sees “two weeks of data to confirm no flare-up of COVID-19.”
The second phase will allow businesses to expand their occupancy by another 25 percent, allowing them to fill to 50 percent overall.
During a press conference, Abbott said he planned to let the current stay-at-home order expire because the social distancing and shutdown order “has done its job to slow the growth of COVID-19.”
“Now it’s time to set a new course, a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas,” Abbott said, flanked by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, the Texas Tribune reported further “Just as we united as one state to slow COVID-19, we must also come together to begin rebuilding the lives and the livelihoods of our fellow Texans.”
Earlier this month, President Trump announced a phased-in approach to reopening the country, issuing new guidelines that would help give governors and mayors some leeway in deciding how best to proceed.
The lockdowns, painful as they were, have worked
“Under these guidelines, States will reopen one step at a time, rather than all at once,” said a press release from the White House. “The guidelines will empower Governors to tailor the phased reopening to address the situation in their State.”
Governors could begin by opening up statewide or on a county-by-county basis, whatever they and their health advisers decide is best.
As for Abbott, he said his order merely “gives permission to reopen,” but it’s “not a requirement,” adding that individual businesses can remain shuttered if they want.
The governor said he was holding off on reopening some businesses including barbershops, hair salons, bars and gyms, but said he hoped those, too, could reopen by mid-May.
Other governors are following suit. As Trending Politics reported, they include Tennessee, Montana and Mississippi.
Governors of those states are defending their actions like Abbott has done. (Related: Dave Hodges encapsulates the anti-lockdown consensus: End the lockdowns “by any means necessary” … “civil disobedience” rising.)
“Like the rest of the country, Tennessee has taken an unprecedented economic hit with families and small businesses feeling the most pain,” GOP Gov. Bill Lee said. “We must stay vigilant as a state, continue to practice social distancing, and engage in best practices at our businesses so that we can stay open.”
“Wall Street and Hollywood will be fine,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves wrote in part of a lengthy statement on Facebook. “Mississippi small businesses and workers are not. That’s who has been asked to shoulder the country’s burden. It’s not fair, and it’s not right. We have to safely, quickly re-open. That’s what we’re starting to do.”
The lockdowns, painful as they were, have worked.