Texas Governor Abbott Says No Statewide Shutdown Amid Surge in Coronavirus Cases
As the number of new coronavirus cases in Texas continues to rise and hospitals get more crowded, Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday said there will be no statewide shutdown.
Abbott noted that the next measure will have to be a lockdown. The Texas governor stressed that a shutdown will not be needed if the face mask mandate is being followed.
Other measures he implemented was shutting down bars. But he said it will take a few weeks to see any effects after the measures were applied.
"The conversation this past week focused on this one concept, and that is, 'Did the face mask requirement that I've imposed in the state of Texas will achieve the results that the CDC director announced yesterday?' And if everyone will adopt the face mask requirement and wear a face mask, we will be able to get control of COVID-19," Abott was quoted in a report.
He repeatedly said that if people follow the mask mandate, there will be no need for a state lockdown. Abbott said people are panicking that Texas will shut down again and he said the answer is clearly no.
"And that is a lockdown is the last thing that we need in the state of Texas if everyone will adopt the best practice of wearing a face mask," Abott noted.
Texas coronavirus cases
There were 10,457 people in Texas hospitals due to the coronavirus, as of Thursday. This was a decrease from 10,569 from Tuesday. The state has reported 3,561 deaths from the disease.
Abbott said this could be a glimmer of hope, but this does not mean that they are "out of the woods yet."
Texas Schools Reopening
The state's largest district, Houston, is planning to start the fall semester later than usual and expects students to learn virtually.
The state made clear that they won't financially penalize districts that decided not to open for face-to-face classes within three weeks of starting their school year if a local health agency orders that classrooms remain closed. Some parents are planning to opt out in-person teaching for the school year.
According to a recent poll by University of Texas and Texas Politics Project, around 65 percent of Texans said it was unsafe for children to go back to school. Teachers also said the state's decision to require an in-person learning puts their health and safety in line.
State guidance allows parents to choose their children to not participate in face-to-face classes, but says little about how school districts should protect their teachers and staff. Some teachers protested, while observing social distancing, at the Texas Capitol in Austin on Wednesday, demanding for schools to open safely.
Middle school math teacher in Austin ISD, Jenny Peña, said they are protesting to advocate the safety of everyone in a school community.
"If you've never seen a child in a casket, I don't recommend it," Peña was quoted in a report. She noted that she cannot recommend burying a student for something that can be prevented.
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