Texas Gov. Greg Abbott aims to reopen state

Photo by Esther Mathew | Mercury Staff

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed three executive orders on April 17 in an effort to reopen the state amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first order, Abbott established the “Strike Force to Open Texas,” a team of medical experts, private and public leaders who will advise the governor on the safe reopening of Texas. Abbott said on Friday that more details about the state’s reopening would come on April 27. 

In the second order, he established a temporary “Retail-To-Go” model for reopening non-essential businesses with minimal contact, allowing retailers to sell items through drive-through or delivery options starting April 24. This order also officially closed all schools — including higher education institutions — for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year. 

The third executive order allows surgeries and procedures that do not require personal protective equipment, in contrast to a March order which banned all elective medical procedures. The order also allows medical facilities to perform surgeries and procedures if they reserve 25% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients and don’t request PPE for the remainder of the pandemic. The order goes into effect at 11:59 on April 21 and will last until May 8. Abbott also announced that state parks will reopen on April 20, but will require visitors to wear face masks, stay six feet apart at all times unless they’re members of the same household. Visitors will not be allowed to visit in groups of greater than five.

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