Abbott to announce plan on Friday to begin re-opening Texas economy

Coronavirus

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks at a press conference about the state’s coronavirus response at the Texas State Capitol on April 10, 2020. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN, Texas (KETK/KXAN) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will release details Friday on his plan to jumpstart the Texas economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Abbott’s communications office confirmed the announcement Wednesday, but did not immediately share any additional details about the timing or substance of the plan.

“This is not going to be a ‘rush the gates, everybody is able to suddenly reopen all at once. We have to understand that we must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Gov. Greg Abbott

“We’re going to be introducing Texas to this comprehensive team that we have put together, that will very comprehensively, carefully, strategically evaluate what must be done for Texas to open back up,” he explained Monday, “ensuring that what we’re doing is consistent with data with medical analysis, as well as strategies about which type of businesses will be able to open up.”

In a letter on Tuesday, Representative Matt Schaefer and other members of the Texas Freedom Caucus urged Abbott to open up Texas small businesses. They stressed that it was up to individual Texans to protect themselves and help those who physically cannot.

Abbott has faced mounting pressure from some House Republicans to loosen his state-wide executive order “to the greatest extent possible while giving local jurisdictions the flexibility to respond to local conditions.”

Abbott has waived dozens of regulations in response to the pandemic, and shut Texas schools down until at least May 4.

Some House Democrats have warned about “re-opening the economy” before large-scale testing capability is readily available.

“Reopening before we have test and trace capacity is incredibly dangerous,” State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, tweeted Tuesday.

On Monday, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said the sooner Texans can abide by the federal social distancing and sanitizing guidelines about washing hands and staying home, “the sooner this economy is going to get kicked back off.”

“The more effective we are at shutting this virus down right now while we’re going through this process we’re already in, the more effective to do that, that we can then launch our economy out of that and not end up going backwards because we didn’t follow these guidelines,” Bonnen said.

“Even when we restart the economy, social distancing is still going to have to occur,” Bonnen said.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, tweeted Wednesday afternoon that the state “rightly focused on keeping only essential services open” as Texans mobilized to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“Recently a friend texted me, saying that we should also focus to thinking of biz’s that are safe to open and those that are unsafe,” he tweeted, agreeing with that sentiment.

Patrick made national headlines back in March when he said that senior citizens would rather risk their lives than tank the economy.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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