Texas Closes Bars and Gyms, Restricts Restaurants Due to COVID-19
AUSTIN, Texas – On Mar. 19, 2020, Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order ensuring Texas closes bars, gyms, and restricts restaurants to carry-out only. Abbott also limited gatherings to 10 people or less, restricted travel to nursing homes and closed all schools. This order is through April 3 in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“The traditional model that we have employed in the state of Texas for such a long time so effectively does not apply to an invisible disease that knows no geographic or jurisdictional boundaries,” Abbott, said at a press conference.
“The virus’s quick spread is sparking a dramatic response from Republican state leaders, who until now had been letting local officials issue guidance on closures. About 140 Texans have tested positive for COVID-19 and three people have died since the first case on March 4,” Renuka Rayasam stated in an article posted to Politico.
The state has also issued a public health disaster order. The first since 1901, according to Abbott. “The more that people do to reduce their public contact the sooner the COVID-19 will be contained,” he said. “Working together we must defeat COVID-19 with the only tool we have available to us. We must strangle its expansion by reducing the ways that we are currently transmitting it.”
“Abbott said he expects testing capacity to reach 15,000 to 20,000 tests per week. So far, about 2,000 people have been tested in the state. And he said that hospitals are prepared for a potential surge in critically-ill patients, but didn’t say whether the state is requesting military hospitals from the federal government. The state is exploring the possibility of using medical tents to care for patients,” Renuka Rayasam stated in an article posted to Politico.
Abbott’s order does not have any threat of penalty, however, he suggested he would add it if people did not voluntarily comply with the order.
The Texas economy is expected to take a big hit as Republicans scramble to prepare for the fallout. “It’s going to hurt,” said Julia Coronado, a financial consultant who also teaches at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. “There’s the health shock and the oil shock. It’s going to be an extra hit on the state’s economy.”