Texas To Start Reopening This Week

Published on April 21, 2020

Texas Governor, Greg Abbott announced a plan to slowly start reopening Texas. In a state where there are currently more than 18,000 cases, any choices to start reopening businesses are potentially fraught with risk. One prominent Texas company that has done everything right from individual sanitization procedures to offering extended medical leave for employees, is still having employees contract coronavirus.

No Store Does More Than H-E-B
Source: HEB

H-E-B is a food shopping haven for most Texans. Considered an essential business, H-E-B did everything it could to protect its employees and customers — so much so they were praised for it in a spotlight on Vice.com. Yet, employees across the state still came down with coronavirus, prompting shoppers to panic. H-E-B is now requiring customers to wear masks at the store where it is mandated by law, city by city, county by county. The grocery store chain has also installed shield protectors in front of employees checking out food items to protect them. Here’s a store that tried to do everything right from the get-go, and people still got sick. What does that mean if more businesses were to reopen when cases are still increasing in number?

Abbot’s Plan

Contrary to headlines, Abbot isn’t planning on reopening everything in Texas right away. He plans to do a soft reopen beginning on April 24th. What does mean for Texans? Basically, Texas State parks have already been allowed to open back up, provided that visitors wear face masks and practice social distancing guidelines. On Wednesday the ban on nonessential medical procedures will be lifted. Only some nonessential surgeries will be allowed to be scheduled. On Friday retailers will be able to offer to-go service to customers. The one thing that won’t change is that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the current semester.

The State Of Texas

While some constituents have praised Abbot for his plan, many think it’s too soon to lift any lockdown restrictions. In San Antonio alone, a UTSA study concluded that projected cases for the next few months would jump from 3,600 with social distancing measures to 300,000 without them. Right now, San Antonio cases are still under 1,000 with less than 50 deaths but that’s with strict social distancing measures in place. The San Antonio Mayor, Ron Nirenberg recently ordered that anyone over the age of five must wear a mask when they go out. And that’s just one example of an impacted Texas city.

While it’s understandable that the Texas Governor wants to help citizens get back to work and stimulate the economy, too much, too soon is a dangerous venture and could potentially put thousands of lives at risk. The race to create some sort of viable vaccine for Coronavirus won’t protect people now. What does work is the social distancing measures put in place. To rush to reopen is foolhardy and would damage the people of Texas and the economy far more in the long run.

Katherine Stinson is an award-winning journalist and Staff Reporter at Grit Daily News, where she covers Texas and Southern states' startup and entrepreneurship news. Based in San Antonio, Texas, she also contributes to ScreenRant, Outlander TV News, and San Antonio Magazine.

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