HOUSTON – Many local and state officials have reacted to Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan for a phased reopening of Texas that will begin Friday.
Here’s what they had to say:
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo
Hidalgo issued a controversial order last week requiring all Harris County residents to wear a mask in public for 30 days. If people did not comply with the order, she said the penalty could be a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail. Abbott’s Monday order superseded her order and he said that while masks were encouraged, they were not mandated.
In response, Hidalgo issued a statement to KPRC 2 saying she was disappointed “to see folks politicize public health" and that she would amend her order to conform with Abbott’s order. Read her full statement below:
“Harris County is the epicenter for the COVID-19 crisis in Texas and face coverings are one of the only weapons we have to stop the spread of the virus and reopen safely. We have a face-covering order today and we’ll still have a face-covering order tomorrow," Hidalgo said. "In practical terms, the governor’s order doesn’t change much because, like every order we’ve issued so far, we’d made it clear that the priority was education. The fine was there as a signal of how vital mask-wearing is, and in many ways, the community got that message. It’s been disappointing to see folks politicize public health, and I hope this means they’ll go back to focusing on health and safety instead of politics. As we have in the past, we will amend this order to conform with the governor’s.”
Mayor Sylvester Turner
Turner said he hopes with the measures being placed that the number of COVID-19 cases in Houston will not spike.
“I know that there are a number of people conversations that I have had this week. In the last 10 days, I have been about reopening our economy and I fully understand the need and the desire to reopen,” Turner said. “It has always been our intent of all of us here locally to do the things based on the advice we’re getting from medical professionals, the data the science to make the best decision possible in the best interest in the people we serve.”
Turner said the city will take the following measures given by the governor because it is out of local officials’ hands and that Abbott has pretty much established a timeline for the state to re-open.
“Let me simply voice as a cautionary note, in a sense: there is no vaccine that is available for us right now," he said. "I think we can agree, the stay at home orders, for example, are working, the closing, the rescheduling of many of conferences and conventions are working, have worked, the social distancing wearing of face coverings have worked.”
Texas Democrats said Abbott and President Donald Trump had mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic and that Abbott was jumping the gun to reopen the state.
Read their full statement below:
"Trump and Abbott have consistently mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic. Now, Governor Abbott threatens to open Texas up too quickly while we still rank second-to-last in the country for testing and haven’t yet hit our peak in deaths. Governor Abbott’s mismanagement of the coronavirus has resulted in the second-lowest approval rating among governors in the country.
Prematurely reopening Texas threatens to harm our economic and health prospects in the long-term with the subsequent havoc that will occur with more coronavirus deaths."
The Republican Party of Texas has not released an official statement.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw
Crenshaw reposted KPRC 2′s article on Abbott’s announcement, stating the following:
“Good. Smart reopenings should be happening across the country sooner than later. We can trust the American people to safely return to work and revive our economy.”
Houston Police Officers’ Union
HPOU president Joe Gamaldi posted his reaction on Twitter, stating the following:
“Gov. Greg Abbott has stepped in and struck down Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo draconian mask order. We still encourage everyone to wear a mask, but at least we are no longer threatening hard working/law abiding members of our community with a fine/jail time. Logic and reason has won the day.”
Gov. @GregAbbott_TX has stepped in and struck down @LinaHidalgoTX draconian mask order. We still encourage everyone to wear a mask, but at least we are no longer threatening hard working/law abiding members of our community with a fine/jail time. Logic and reason has won the day.— Joe Gamaldi (@JoeGamaldi) April 27, 2020