Sept. 4, 2020. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./ [127], Abbott announced a phased approach to reopening the Texas economy on April 27, with the state entering Phase I of the plan on May 1. Restaurant occupancy limit increased to 75%. Abbott says", "Gov. [36] The state mandated 14-day quarantines for travelers arriving from pandemic hotspots in the U.S. beginning on March 26 until all travel restrictions were lifted on May 21. [159][160] The next day, Abbott issued an executive order closing bars and rafting/tubing businesses, representing the first rollbacks on the reopening plan. Pharmacy technicians were authorized to accept over-the-phone prescription drug orders beginning on April 7 and telehealth services were authorized across a broad range of telecommunication media. [110] Additional federal funding was also distributed through the CARES Act, Small Business Administration,[111][39], On March 19, Abbott ordered the temporary prohibition of dining at bars and restaurants and the closure of gyms effective beginning the following day in a series of executive orders. [95] On January 30, Abbott joined other state governors in a conference call with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, CDC Director Robert Redfield, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, and other health officials to discuss disease mitigation and prevention strategies. On March 30, the closure was extended to all of their properties. "[80], The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases confirmed by the DSHS reached 10,000 on April 9 and 100,000 on June 19. County where individuals with a positive case reside. Private First Class Armon Ramirez from the Texas National Guard is given hand sanitizer after testing people for COVID-19 in the parking lot of Memorial Swimming Pool on May 18, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. "[66] The order also stipulates a written and oral warning for first-time violations of the mask mandate and fines of up to $250 for each subsequent violation. Two of Texas' biggest cities are reporting an uptick in COVID-19 cases over the past several days as concerns mount over how protests sparked by the death of … [67] Children younger than 10 years old, people with an interfering medical condition are exempted from the order, as well as people attending church, voting at polling places, or exercising outdoors. "[citation needed], On March 13, Six Flags (based in Texas) suspended operations to all twelve of their properties nationwide as well as in Mexico, that were operating in the month of March, until the end of the month; these include the two Texas parks, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Six Flags Over Texas. Protesters say they are enforcing the Constitution. [268][267], The pandemic impacted sports across the state at all levels: Texas high school started voluntary summer workouts on June 8 in anticipation of a full season return, but the UIL recommended all workouts statewide be postponed from July 3–13 as a safety measure, impacting around 200 schools across the state, many of which had already made the decision to shut down independently ahead of official orders. [151][152] Businesses in counties with five or fewer cases of COVID-19 were allowed to operate with increased occupancy once Phase I went into effect. [92], In March 2020, The Texas Tribune described the state's pandemic response as a "patchwork system" characterized by its decentralized nature and reliance on locally enacted policies. "[275] Based on an early 190 deaths count, UT Austin issued a report stating that the death rate of people in correctional supervision in Texas was 135% the general death rate. [127][148][149] State parks were also ordered to reopen with COVID-19 regulations on April 20. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? [164] A Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters released on June 3 found that 49 percent approved of Abbott's handling of stay-home restrictions while 38 percent believed Abbott moved "too fast" with the reopening. Includes 14 deaths from unknown counties. Other types of businesses were given staggered opening dates out to May 31 under Phase II. [264] In April 2020, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) cancelled all spring high school sports state-wide. [51] On May 18, Texas enters Phase 2 of the governor's reopening plan. A briefing was held by Abbott on January 27 concerning the COVID-19 outbreak; HHS Commissioner Courtney Philips, DSHS Health Services Commissioner John William Hellerstedt, and TDEM Chief Nim Kidd delivered the briefing. Medical workers work at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Dallas, Texas, the United States, March 21, 2020. [157] Abbott announced on June 18 that Texas public schools would be opening for fall 2020. As Houston, Austin, Dallas and other Texas cities cleaned up after the weekend’s demonstrations, some local politicians have asked protesters to monitor themselves for COVID-19 … Increasing numbers of Houston residents have reportedly been diagnosed with COVID-19 after attending protests against the death of George Floyd. [176][177] The lack of consistent policy at the state and local level during the reopening and Abbott's decision to quash criminal penalties for violations also drew criticism. The state recorded its first death associated with the disease on March 17 in Matagorda County. Abbott lowers regulations to expand nursing workforce during coronavirus pandemic", "Abbott fast-tracks licensing for out-of-state medical professionals to combat coronavirus", "Texas cities, school districts can postpone local elections from May to November over coronavirus concerns", "Texas receives $36.9 million from CDC as part of allotment from emergency coronavirus bill", "Coronavirus In Texas: Gov. [226] A month later, H-E-B expanded their store hours across the state (closer to normal store hours), as supply availability has improved. March 25, 2020. Collin County's order stated that all businesses are essential and would be allowed to remain open as long as they followed physical distancing guidelines. Texas State’s COVID-19 dashboard added four new student cases and one new faculty/staff case Dec. 16. The previous high came just one day earlier, on Thursday. Jun April 18, 2020 at 4:34 pm. Trump spoke hours after protests took place in Texas, Maryland, Indiana, Nevada and Wisconsin against ongoing stay-at-home restrictions enacted to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Abbott's latest order raises more enforcement questions as Texas businesses reopen", "Texas, Florida Officials Say Their States' Reopenings Contributed to COVID Spike", "Gov. Two of Texas' biggest cities are reporting an uptick in COVID-19 cases over the past several days as concerns mount over how protests sparked by the death of George Floyd may be increasing the spread of the virus. Counties with 20 or fewer active cases of COVID-19 are allowed to opt-out of the order. The first documented case in Texas was confirmed on February 13 among U.S. nationals evacuated from China to Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland beginning in early February; however, retrospective analyses have suggested a much earlier origin than previously thought. Probable cases are included from December 11, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. state of Texas by March 2020. Some businesses able to operate at 100%. [255] They later announced on June 3 that classrooms would be kept at 40 percent capacity, and that around 2,100 classes (about a fifth of all available classes) will be conducted online during the fall. The order also requires most outdoor gatherings with at least 100 people to seek approval by local governments. May Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, a former Central Texas state representative, has tested positive for COVID-19. Abbott Imposes Statewide Restrictions For 2 Weeks, No Gatherings Of 10 Or More", "Gov. [56][57] Two days later, a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases, 5,996, is set for the third consecutive day in Texas; the three days contribute over 17,000 cases to the cumulative case count. TX – There was no shortage of news in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic, a recession, monumental protests and a historic election dominated Texans’ lives. [219] Other essential businesses collectively began limiting operational hours, providing previously in-store experiences in palatable to-go forms, restricting points of entry, and requiring use of sanitizer or face masks for all customers. [121][122] However, Abbott issued a de facto stay-at-home order on May 31 directing all Texans to remain at home unless conducting essential activities and services and to "minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household." Aug [186] The Texas Medical Association supported the mask mandate. Abbott announces", "Almost all Texas businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity, Gov. [78][24][79][25] The first death in Texas identified in connection with COVID-19 occurred on March 14 from a man in his 90s at the Matagorda Regional Medical Center; Matagorda County officials reported the death on March 15 and the DSHS confirmed it the following day. Actual case numbers are probably higher. [32][33][34], On March 17, DSHS reports that a man in his 90s in Matagorda County died of COVID-19 after being hospitalized, becoming the first official COVID-19 fatality in Texas. "If it stays at this, this sort of same rate of increase, then I definitely won't say you can blame the protests," Persse said. Texas economy and COVID-19. Greg Abbott goes with a patchwork system", "Texas ranks in bottom 10 least aggressive states for limiting COVID-19 exposure, website says", "Governor Abbott Receives Briefing From State Health Officials On Coronavirus", "Governor Abbott Joins Secretary Alex Azar, Federal Cabinet And Health Officials, State Governors For Update On Coronavirus", "Texas officials on the coronavirus: Keep calm and wash your hands", "Texas Gov. [216] Over the weekend prior, Turner said he proposed a two-week shutdown to Abbott to help curb the soaring rates; Hidalgo, an early proponent of extending the shutdown, voiced support for another shut down. [272][273] Citing looser restrictions in comparison to its traditional home of Las Vegas, the National Finals Rodeo also relocated to Globe Life Field. [36] Abbott grants waivers to hospitals to bolster unused bed capacity without applying or paying added fees. Greg Abbott says schools to remain closed for rest of academic year but eases some coronavirus restrictions", "Retail stores, movie theaters, restaurants and malls able to reopen May 1, Gov. A Fresno Trader Joe's closed early Saturday after anti-mask protesters blocked the entrance. [43][120] Abbott initially decided against statewide shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders due to the fact that more than 200 counties did not have any cases in mid-March. The pandemic, protests and the polls: Texas' 2020 in photos. The first march to protest George Floyd’s death started in the police department parking lot, and featured a message of solidarity from the chief. This angered some people in areas where people had been dying of COVID-19. [227][228], As of May 26, KVUE reported that "The Texas Restaurant Association estimates that 6% of restaurants in Austin have shut down for good during the pandemic, and that number is estimated to be at 12% statewide". It has the second-highest count of deaths related to the virus, behind New York, and the 24th-highest count of deaths per capita. Across Texas… Jan [29][99][100][101] Abbott and the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) requested health insurers and health maintenance organizations to waive pandemic-related costs for patients on March 5. Suspension of elective or non-essential medical procedures. The boy's family was upset that he wasn't allowed to take his exams at home. Abbott Activates National Guard; Grants Waiver to Add Hospital Bed Capacity", "Abbott requests emergency designation to obtain disaster loans for small businesses", "Small businesses in Texas can apply for emergency federal loans to help ride out coronavirus pandemic, Abbott announces", "Texas Gov. Possible cases were to be reported to local health departments, with potential viral samples to be sent to the CDC in Atlanta. [1] An executive order issued by Abbott mandates visitors flying to Texas from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and New Orleans, Louisiana, to self-quarantine for 14 days. Abbott to reopen the Texas economy faster", "Growing chorus of Democrats 'baffled' by Gov. Abilene Faces Police Recruiting Challenges Amid COVID-19 And Protests. Rallies cropped up this week across the country with a common message to governors: relax the strict stay-at … [63][64][65], On July 2, Abbott mandates the wearing of face coverings in public spaces through an executive order, stating that it is "one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19. The state has recorded over 71,000 cases and at least 1,788 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. As of December 21, 2020[update], Texas public health officials have reported 1,611,894 total cases of COVID-19 and 26,149 total deaths, with 14 million COVID-19 tests completed to date. Abbott Orders Face Masks in All Texas Counties With 20 Or More Cases of COVID-19", "Abbott mandates face masks in most public spaces in Texas to curb COVID spread", "County Republican parties in Texas' GOP strongholds say Gov. Beginning in mid-April 2020, there were protests in several U.S. states against government-imposed lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Texas hit a new record high for COVID-19 hospitalizations Sunday, as a surge of the virus continued to strain state medical resources following holiday travel and gatherings. [236], For the first time in the event's history, South by Southwest was cancelled as a result of local health concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. [1] By the end of March 2020, there were 3,266 known cases of COVID-19 and 41 fatalities in Texas, with nearly half of the state's counties reporting at least one case. Last 15 days. [131] Similar training requirements were waived for other medical fields. His family asks community for help celebrating his 5th birthday By Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN 11/17/2020. Collin,[204] Galveston,[205] Harris,[206] Travis,[197][207] and Williamson[207] counties issued same measures on March 24. Greg Abbott orders Texas bars to close again and restaurants to reduce to 50% occupancy as coronavirus spreads", "Texas becomes the first state to reimpose restrictions after lifting stay-at-home order on April 30", "Gov. Local Shelter-in-Place Orders and Coroanvirus Case Growth, "Since Memorial Day, Texas sees month of coronavirus spread", "Surge in coronavirus cases linked to more Texans in their 20s getting sick, officials say", "Texas Case Counts: COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Tests and Hospitalizations)", "Another Case Of Coronavirus Confirmed In US Among China Evacuees, Texas Preparing For Potential Cases", "Governor Abbott Receives Briefing On Coronavirus, Provides Update On Precautionary Measures In Texas", "exas scrambles to prepare for coronavirus outbreak now moving into next phase Todd Ackerman and Taylor Goldenstein", "How prepared is Texas to test patients for COVID-19? [230][231], Abbott's plans to lift the stay-at-home order and reopen Texas was followed by a spike in coronavirus cases reaching 50,000 new cases by Memorial Day weekend. A wave of protests swept across Texas cities this weekend to oppose police brutality and systemic racism, a response in part to the death of George Floyd. [18][19] Rice University becomes the first university in the state to enact significant cancellations, suspending in-person classes and undergraduate labs during the week in response to an employee testing positive in connection with the viral cluster that traveled to Egypt. First cases of COVID-19 in the Texas Panhandle. Greg Abbott pauses Texas' reopening, bans elective surgeries in four counties to preserve bed space for coronavirus patients", "Texas rolls back its reopening a day after pausing plans as coronavirus cases rise", "Hidalgo urges Harris County, now at highest threat level, to stay home as COVID-19 surges", "Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Coronavirus Cases Hit Record", "Red level l | Harris County Judge Hidalgo announces new Stay Home Work Safe advisory", "Texas governor mandates mask-wearing across most of state as coronavirus cases surge", "Gov. The total announced Friday in Dallas County was the highest single-day amount of cases since the start of the pandemic. Apr "[188] Republican State Representative Jonathan Stickland tweeted "[Abbott] thinks he is KING! The forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the total death toll in the U.S. could reach 143,000 by the end of the month as a jump in cases has been seen in 18 states. Rising unemployment and a resurgence of the coronavirus are not a good combination for the Texas economy. [250][251] The closures are not without precedent, as many schools closed for two weeks during the 2009 H1N1 flu when Houston experienced a major outbreak. [248], As of July 16, the state had still not established concrete rules for school reopenings in the Fall, but the latest word from Abbott on July 14 was that districts can expect more flexibility on opening classrooms, with state education officials agreeing to continue to fund school districts who choose to stay virtual if mandated by local health officials. Demonstrators protest during a "Reopen Maryland" rally outside the State House in Annapolis, Md., calling on the state to lift stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus … Persse cautioned that the recent protests were unlikely to be the cause if there's a prolonged spike in cases. 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