Gov. Greg Abbott
FILE - In this March 16, 2020, file photo, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is joined by state and city officials as he gives an update on the coronavirus outbreak in San Antonio. Abortion clinics in Texas filed an emergency motion Saturday, April 11, 2020, asking the Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court order and allow abortions when they can be... Photo: Eric Gay, STF / Associated Press

Abbott announces plan to reopen Texas economy after COVID-19 stay-at-home orders

Gov. Greg Abbott announced his plan to begin opening back up the Texas economy Friday, a multi-tiered approach spearheaded by the governor's handpicked Strike Force to Reopen Texas.

This article was originally published by Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle on April 17, 2020.

Among the headlines in Abbott’s noon announcement is an order closing all schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Abbott said plans for how schools will move forward with the 2019-2020 school year, including for graduation, will be announced “soon” by the Texas Education Agency.

A handful of executive orders will dictate the first go at reopening the economy, which include loosening restrictions on medical personnel and their ability to perform certain tests and surgeries. Those restrictions will be loosened starting April 22, Abbott said.

Retailers throughout the state will also be able to open their proverbial “doors” starting next Friday, April 24, although Abbott said retailers must offer a “retail to-go” option for customers to order and pick up outside the store or have their purchases delivered.

He also announced that state parks, which have since been shuttered to promote social distancing, will reopen Monday. There are restrictions along with the reopening, however: Groups must be confined to five people, everyone must wear a mask or face cover of some sort, and no one (except for those from the same household) can be within six feet of one another.

Leading the strikeforce will be Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Comptroller Glenn Hegar. They will be advised by several health and business experts, including Houston’s Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale and Tilman Feritta.

That strikeforce will be working over the next 10 days to develop more plans to slowly open the economy while keeping the integrity of social distancing and slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“Texans are battling a colossal challenge, an invisible enemy who has tested our lives and livelihoods, But part of out Texas brand is our ability to overcome challenges.”

Gov. Greg Abbott

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