Local officials to follow governor’s lead on reopening businesses

(Photo courtesy of Bluesky Helicopter Tours)
(Photo courtesy of Bluesky Helicopter Tours)(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 4:40 PM CDT
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Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday he’ll announce a plan next week to reopen Texas stores and businesses beginning in early May.

“We want to make sure we open as many business as possible," Abbott told the Fox Business Network Wednesday.

"However, we want to make sure we do it in a very safe way that does not stoke an expansion of the COVID-19."

Waco and McLennan County officials said during a virtual news conference Wednesday they’re prepared to follow the governor’s lead as they reassess local shelter in place orders also in place until April 30.

“It could be that here locally we have little control as to how that happens, but we will be able to counsel and advise the local businesses as how to make the governor’s orders work,” McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said.

“We have a lot of responsibility individually to make sure the changes we make are good changes and we don’t reverse back to the same situation that put us into them”

“We don’t want a backlash from the virus,” he said.

Abbott named a task force last week to advise him on how best to reopen the state’s economy and on what standards to adopt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as Texans return to work.

“We’re going to be making an announcement opening so many different types of businesses, where you’re going to be able to go to a hair salon, … go to any type of retail establishment you want to go to, different things like that, with a structure in place that will ensure that we slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Abbott told a Lubbock radio talk show host Wednesday.”

Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver reacted cautiously to the governor’s comments Wednesday.

“I was not aware of the governor’s comments this morning so I will have to review those. I think some of those appear to us to be among the riskier types of businesses to reopen. We may have some challenges there and we will have to see what the governor has to announce on Monday”

“I am hearing a lot from hair salons and businesses,” he said.

“They are in such close contact in those areas of business it’s not time to reopen them in this first phase… in my estimation, but again that may be up to the governor.”

On Tuesday the Waco City Council slightly amended the city’s order to bring it in line with changes Abbott announced last week that allow retail businesses to begin curbside and delivery services.

McLennan County reported 81 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday.

The virus has claimed four lives in the county.

Sixty two patients have recovered and 62 other residents are being monitored.

Almost 2,200 residents have been tested.

Family Health Center CEO Dr. Jackson Griggs said Wednesday it appears COVID-19 deaths have peaked in Texas.

“We need to start thinking of this virus as ebbs and flows and not one big surge,” he said.

WASHINGTON (AP)--A new survey finds Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

A majority say it won’t be safe to lift such restrictions anytime soon.

The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research comes as protests have broken out and some governors have announced plans to ease the public health efforts that have upended daily life. 

Only 12% of Americans say measures to fight the outbreak where they live go too far.  About twice as many believe the limits don’t go far enough.  The majority of Americans - 61% - feel the steps taken to prevent infections in their area are about right.