On Friday, April 17, Governor Greg Abbott announced his plan for reopening the state of Texas in a press conference.
“We are now beginning to see glimmers that the worst of COVID-19 may soon be behind us,” Abbott said at the beginning of the press conference.
He went on to say that “opening Texas must occur in stages,” Abbott said. “First will be openings announced today that will pose minimal or no threats with COVID-19.”
Abbott said reopening “must be guided both data and by doctors,” saying that all decisions will be guided by them.
The governor also said he is forming a task force to formulate a plan, and issued executive orders to give guidelines for looser medical restrictions, as well as retail.
The task force will include various industry leaders such as Jim McIngvale, Ross Perot Jr., Tilman Fertitta, and Nancy Kinder.
During the press conference, Abbott said retailers can begin to provide “to-go” services on April 24th, similar to what restaurants are currently doing. Medical restrictions will also loosened, specifically those on surgeries, such as biopsies for cancer – as long as this does not affect hospital’s protective equipment supplies and allow facilities to maintain that 25% of capacity be available for COVID-19 treatment.
State parks will also reopen on Monday, with the caveat that visitors must wear masks, maintain social distancing from all non-family members, and not have groups larger than five.
Finally, Abbott confirmed closure of school for the rest of the year.
Abbott also said testing would “be going up quite a bit.”
On April 27th, the governor plans to “additional ways to open Texas up.” He said this would come after “further input from medical staff.”