Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said that 566 people in Texas have received presumptive positive or confirmed tests for the new coronavirus — and acknowledged that state health officials’ daily disclosures of Texas cases have excluded an unknown number of those cases.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on March 21, 2020
Abbott made clear he did not consider the executive order a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order, taking issue with that terminology. Instead, “this is a standard that’s based upon essential services and essential activities,” Abbott said.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on March 31, 2020
When Gov. Greg Abbott told Texans this week to restrict their social interactions except for essential activities, he made his thinking clear: He didn't consider his latest executive order a "stay-at-home" order.
That distinction caused some confusion about what exactly his order intended to do. Residents in many states have been told to stay at home to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. Was Abbott's order different? Was he not going that far?
In subsequent interviews and statements, Abbott was clearer. The order "requires all Texans to stay at home except to provide essential services or do essential things like going to the grocery store," he said in a video message released Wednesday afternoon, hours before the executive order went into effect.
In other words, the order does what many other governors’ recent orders do — just with different branding.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on April 3, 2020
“Ultimately, obviously that will be a decision for courts to make,” Abbott said, adding, that an allowance for abortion is “not part of this order. The way that the order is written is in terms of what doctors write about the type of treatment that is provided.”
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on April 17, 2020
Among the members, Landry’s owner Tilman Fertitta, Gallery Furniture owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale and Perry Homes CEO Kathy Britton, will all be serving on the strikeforce team as their special advisory council members working alongside medical advisors in guiding the Governor to safely reopen Texas in phases. The team will be led by retired COO of Hilltop Holdings James Huffines and veteran lobbyist Mike Toomey.
Abbott said that other than the loss of life, the biggest impact of the state has been the blow to livelihoods. Millions of Texans have filed for unemployment. Around 1.5 million, or about 80% of those claims have been filled and $1.4 billion have been paid out. The state is working to address the remaining 20% quickly, Abbott said.
“We strongly recommend that everyone wear a mask,” Abbott said at a press conference where he announced his plans for reopening Texas. “However, it's not a mandate. And we make clear that no jurisdiction can impose any type of penalty or fine.”
“My executive order, it supersedes local orders, with regard to any type of fine or penalty for anyone not wearing a mask,” he added.
Hidalgo’s order, which carries a penalty of up to $1,000, drew harsh criticism from GOP officials and members of law enforcement. The measure is similar to those ordered by other local officials, such as those in Austin and Dallas.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on April 27, 2020
“Any mandatory self-quarantine already in effect as a result of these executive orders, to the extent applicable to travelers from the City of New Orleans or the State of Louisiana, is terminated immediately” as of Friday, Abbott’s latest order says.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on April 28, 2020
The governor, however, is looking at a completely different set of numbers when it comes to tracking the pandemic in Texas, fueling optimism for him and his pandemic advisers even as anxiety rises beyond his circle about the reopening process.
As he makes decisions about how quickly to restart the Texas economy, Abbott has zeroed in on two figures: the state’s infection rate — the ratio of positive cases to tests conducted — and the hospitalization rate — the proportion of infected Texans who are requiring hospitalization. Both rates have generally trended downward since high points in the first half of April.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on April 30, 2020
Since he announced those the initial business reopenings last week, Abbott has faced increasing pressure from some in his own party to also give the green light to barbershops and gyms. Earlier Tuesday, two Republican state representatives defied Abbott’s wishes by getting haircuts at a Houston-area salon.
"How do we know reopening businesses won't result in the faster spread and more cases of COVID-19? Listen, the fact of the matter is, pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening – whether you want to call it a reopening of business or just a reopening of society in the aftermath of something like this -- that it actually will lead to an increase in spread," Abbott says in the recording. "It's almost ipso facto. The more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility there is for transmission. The goal never has been to get transmission of COVID-19 down to zero.”
“It never can be to keep transmission down to zero because there’s always going to be with a rapidly transmittable disease like this, there will always be a level of transmission,” Abbott added.
The erratic pattern foreshadows the struggles cities and counties now face as they interpret an entirely new set of regulations on reopening. That’s further complicated as enforcement has become a political hot-button issue across Texas and the U.S. Abbott, a Republican, has repeatedly changed his guidance as his party base grows more agitated.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on May 14, 2020
In explaining his cautious optimism about Texas’ response to the novel coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott has often honed in on one cheery-sounding figure: The number of Texans he says have recovered from the virus, which, he boasts, tops that of almost every other state.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on May 18, 2020
“We are confident that Texas will get back to work and continue leading the nation in job growth, economic innovation, and business creation,” the letter from the three officials reads. “However, it will take months until we know the true extent of the economic ramifications of COVID-19, and how combating this virus will impact state finances. To prepare for this economic shock, we must take action today to ensure that the state can continue providing the essential government services that Texans expect.”
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on May 20, 2020
Gov. Greg Abbott lifted air travel restrictions into Texas for those coming from states and major cities that have been considered COVID-19 hot spots. The change will take effect immediately, Abbott announced Thursday.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on May 21, 2020
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that even more businesses can reopen this week, as part of his second phase of reopening Texas businesses after the coronavirus pandemic caused a worldwide economic roadblock.
Last week Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state would allow fans at outdoor sporting events, but limiting capacity to 25%. If the Astros ever get back to playing, the law would allow fans to watch baseball in person. Same goes with the Houston Texans, which could fill 25 percent of NRG Stadium at Texans home games.
Abbott said the new positive COVID-19 cases are largely the result of “isolated hot spots in nursing homes, jails and meatpacking plants.”
Between May 26 and June 2, more than 45% of new cases came from jails or prisons, meatpacking plants and nursing homes, according to the news release.
“Thanks to the effectiveness of our Surge Response Teams, we have the ability to contain those hot spots while opening up Texas for business,” Abbott said in the release. “As we begin Phase III, I ask all Texans and Texas businesses to continue following the standard health protocols and to heed the guidance of our state and federal officials who continue to closely monitor COVID-19. If we remain vigilant, we will continue to mitigate the spread of this virus, protect public health, and get more Texans back to work and their daily activities.”
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on June 3, 2020
With the number of people hospitalized for the new coronavirus continuing to climb in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that there’s “no real need to ratchet back the opening of businesses in the state.”
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on June 12, 2020
The mayors of nine of Texas’ biggest cities, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, urged Gov. Greg Abbott in a letter Tuesday to grant them the “authority to set rules and regulations” mandating face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on June 16, 2020
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott stressed that the public “comprehend the magnitude of the challenge” ahead and, in a first since Texas lifted lockdown orders in May, empowered cities and counties to immediately put tighter restrictions on large gatherings.
Associated Press on Click2Houston.com on June 23, 2020
The governor struck a newly urgent tone Monday in a televised press conference to say COVID-19 was “spreading at an unacceptable rate” and that multiple metrics to gauge the virus’ spread and severity had significantly increased. Epidemiologists have attributed upticks in infections and hospitalizations to changes in behavior, including lax mask use and less social distancing.
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on June 23, 2020
Abbott for the first time publicly expressed regret over his decision to let bars reopen, saying in an evening interview with KVIA in El Paso that the “bar setting, in reality, just doesn’t work with a pandemic.”
Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on June 29, 2020