Texas Carefully Reopens Part of Its Economy
Slowly but surely, various states are starting to find a way forward. A careful reopening of the economy is taking place in locations all around the country. Texas is one of the first states that has decided to reopen for business. They are taking the proper steps to make sure that everything goes according to plan, though.
Governor Abbott’s executive orders are designed to offer the necessary guidance. While we are not returning to the same normalcy that we were accustomed to before the pandemic hit, this is a step in the right direction. The Texas governor is establishing a strike force that is dedicated to finding ways to bring the state back up to speed.
Medical professionals, elected officials and business personnel have been chosen to head up the task force. The task force has also been divided into four different work groups. There are separate factions that will work as a federal liaison. Fiscal accountability, education, health care and economic revitalization are all going to be addressed as well.
The Texas governor is taking these actions because the state has not been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic like so many others. The projections that were initially made for the state have proven to be inaccurate. Texas is also going to be increasing their testing in the weeks to come. At the moment, they are one of the lowest rated states from a testing standpoint.
“Because of the efforts by everyone to slow the spread, we’re now beginning to see glimmers that the worst of COVID-19 may soon be behind us,” Abbott said, noting that the number of infections is “beginning to level off” and the death toll, while tragic, has “not come close to the early, dire predictions.”
“We have demonstrated that we can corral the coronavirus,” Abbott added.
Everyone has been putting in the proper effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. That’s why Governor Abbott is cautiously optimistic that the worst is behind them. The death toll remains tragic but Texas has been lucky to dodge the worst of the early predictions that were made. They are confident that they have corralled the virus.
Texas hospitals are also less concerned about the potential surge in hospitalized patients. Backup plans were put into place to assist these facilities. Fortunately, they have yet to be implemented. The total number of known cases in the state is hovering around the 19,000 mark. Many major cities in the state of Texas are in the process of rolling back their initial predictions, too.
Hospital beds remain empty and there is plenty of PPE to go around. Governor Abbott is going to allow elective procedures to take place this week. Texas hospitals have been experiencing financial difficulties and elective procedures allow them to recoup some of these losses. The hospitals are still required to maintain 25% vacancy, so that COVID-19 patients are able to access the necessary resources and supplies are not depleted.
“It turned out in hindsight that we have a great number of hospital beds that are vacant, that appear that will not be needed to treat COVID-19 patients,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at a Friday afternoon press conference when he also announced plans to gradually reopen the state economy. “Because of the hospital bed vacancy and because of a new supply chain for PPE, we feel that we can begin allowing some more procedures.”
A prohibition on medical procedures that are not “immediately medically necessary” will be loosened starting next week, allowing hospitals that have struggled financially without those lucrative procedures to begin recouping losses. Starting Tuesday night, health care facilities may perform a limited number of nonessential surgeries, so long as they preserve at least 25% capacity available to treat COVID-19 patients and don’t deplete medical resources.
Texas state parks are slated to reopen but Governor Abbott is going to enforce the social distancing rules. Face coverings are still required and park attendees must keep a distance of six feet. Abbott is maintaining the ban on large gatherings, as no group larger than five is able to convene. The state parks in El Paso are not going to open, as the virus is still working its way through the area.
Retail businesses are being given the go ahead to order new items on Friday. Stores in Texas can now start to bring items to the customers’ vehicles. It’s the same principle that restaurants have been utilizing during the pandemic. Texas residents now have access to curbside pickup, no matter what business establishment they are visiting.
After a week has passed, the governor is going to be addressing the additional openings that need to take place. Texas will remain reliant on the proper data and medical reports during this process. This should offer the necessary peace of mind to those who are concerned about the reopening process. Reticence is understandable in these situations.
Additional openings will be announced April 27 “after further input from medical staff,” Abbott said. Abbott repeatedly pointed to April 27 as the next date on which he could announce additional steps to reopen the economy, as long as Texas is continuing to make progress in slowing the spread of the virus. Previewing that date, Abbott said, “One of the things that we will consider is the elimination of the stay-at-home policy,” which he announced late last month and expires April 30.
“If the data continues to show a flatlining and then a decline” in positive tests, “that is a signal that we can begin the process of opening up some businesses that adhere to the strictest strategies that will reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.
No governor wants to make the mistake of reopening too early and having blood on their hands. The economy needs to be reopened as soon as possible but that does not mean that anyone should be rushing into it. April 27 is the date that has been set for additional reopening of the economy. Abbott is also in the process of determining the date for the elimination of the state’s stay at home policy.
This is Texas’ chance to pave the way for other states that are looking to reopen. Business owners all over the country will now have the chance to become more optimistic. There is now a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, we can reopen as a country sooner rather than later. By using the facts on the ground as a guide, we can avoid the issues that will plague those who reopen too quickly.