Skip to Main Content

Abbott Pauses Texas Reopening as New Coronavirus Cases Continue to Spike

Governor Gregg Abbott is pausing his aggressive reopening of Texas, as coronavirus cases continued to spike across the state and threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses,” Abbott said in a statement issued late yesterday. “This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

Texas Nears 6,000 New COVID-19 Cases for 2nd Day in a Row

Texas reported 5,994 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, the second day in a row new cases approached 6,000. Yesterday’s total was only four cases shy of a new record reported on Wednesday.

The state also recorded 47 new coronavirus fatalities on Thursday, the most in five weeks.

With hospitalizations up 214% since Memorial Day, Abbott also ordered four of the largest counties in Texas — Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis – to postpone all elective surgeries.

“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19, and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Abbott Orders Texas Bars to Close Again

This morning, Abbott also ordered all bars in the state to re-close and mandated that all restaurants return to 50% occupancy. He had permitted restaurants to operate at 75% occupancy beginning June 12th.

The Governor will also allow local authorities to regulate most outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”

Finally, he urged all Texans to cover their faces when out in public, practice good hand hygiene, and continue practicing social distancing. However, Abbott reiterated that he would not issue a state-wide mask order.

“Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can,” the Governor continued.

Harris County to Move to Highest Threat Level

The Houston Metro Region reported 1,658 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, while Harris County added 1,231.

According to The Houston Chronicle, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will move the county to the highest threat level today and call for a return to the stay-at-home conditions that were in effect in March and April. However, she has lacked the authority to issue a mandatory stay-at-home order since Abbott took control of the state’s reopening in May.

Last Friday, Hidalgo ordered most Harris County businesses to require face coverings for employees and customers when social distancing isn’t possible. That order came after Governor Abbott insisted that his reopening plan allowed local authorities to mandate masks for stores and businesses. However, he had never publicly mentioned that alternative before.

Abbott’s Reopening Pause Might be Too Little, Too Late

Abbott’s decision to pause reopening comes just 55 days after Texas began implementing his multi-phase reopening plan. The first phase went into effect on May 1st, even though the state hadn’t met any of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines for safe reopening, including a downward trajectory of new cases for 14 days.

Understandably, the state’s surging outbreak had already earned Abbott criticism for reopening too early. Now some of those critics are warning that his latest actions could be too little, too late.

“I actually think that may not be enough,” Infectious disease and vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez told ABC-13. “We still need to dial back things more and potentially go into red alert, but at least it’s a beginning.”

“This rise already occurred under the current circumstances, so it’s really more common sense than anything else that keeping this as-is is not so good, it’s pretty bad,” he continued. “We can’t let this go another two weeks. This is the time to do it.”

Contact Our Undefeated Texas Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consult at 1-888-603-3636 or by CLICKING HERE

Our Undefeated Houston Personal Injury Lawyers are tracking the resurgent coronavirus outbreak in Texas and will continue to post updates as new information becomes available.

Please call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form with any questions.