‘The state is about to repeat its mistake’: Turner warns reopening businesses too soon could lead to repeat of June outbreak

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday on Twitter that he hopes to provide the “next steps” on coronavirus restrictions in the state sometime next week.

Abbott said cases and hospitalizations in the state had declined and indicated a coronavirus-related announcement could be coming soon.

On Wednesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a statement on the state’s anticipated announcement on the expanded reopening plans and he warned people to stay vigilant so as to “not reverse the hard work we have done to reduce COVID-19 positive cases and deaths.”

Turner said cities and counties came together after the first wave in March and April but because Abbot reopened some businesses “without consulting local governments,” and he called the results “disastrous.”

“Thirty days later, the virus was out of control like a forest fire, and more people tested positive, more people died, and hospitals were scrambling to expand capacity,” Turner said. “Consequently, the state ordered businesses to close for a second time and Texas joined Florida, Arizona, and California in the national spotlight but not in the right way.”

Turner commended Abbott for stepping in and issuing a statewide mask order, “which was desperately needed.” According to Turner, the effort from cities and counties helped bring the numbers back down, but “the number of people dying is still too high, and the positivity rate remains above 5%.”

“Now that numbers are better like in April, the Governor is about to embark on the same course again,” Turner said. “It is frustrating that he is making decisions that impact all of us without including local officials in the process. The state is about to repeat its mistake, expecting a different result. Please tell that to the virus and explain that to the people who will suffer.”

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