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Governor Greg Abbott creates tasks force to reopen Texas; schools remain closed for the year

The governor emphasized opening will be a slow and gradual process
With more than 5,300 Texans having tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott...
With more than 5,300 Texans having tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott is set to address how hospitals are handling an influx of patients, several of whom are critically ill.(Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune)
Updated: Apr. 17, 2020 at 1:18 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Tx. (KSLA) - Governor Greg Abbott signed a proclamation to reopen the Texas economy.

The first executive order by Gov. Abbott creates a strike force that will work to reopen the state without putting health at risk. The force includes medical experts, business leaders, educators, and political leaders. Abbott says the reopening will happen in phases just as President Donald Trump discussed Thursday evening.

The second order is for nurses and doctors. The order is for those nurses and doctors performing non-essential procedures to get back to work.

In addition to the phases of reopening, Texas Gov. Abbott announced that Texas schools , private and public, will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. He said that opening businesses again would be a gradual process, but said it would not be safe to re-open schools for the rest of the school year.

He added educators and administrators will be allowed to perform administrative tasks, however, no face to face instruction.

State parks will be scheduled reopen Monday, April 20 with restrictions. Those choosing to go to a park must wear a facemask or some form of face protection.

Beginning April 24, Abbott said retailers will be allowed to do to-go shopping. Shoppers will not be allowed inside facilities however, retailers will be able to deliver or begin curbside.

“Understand this: opening in Texas must occur in stages. Obviously, not all businesses can open all at once on May the first. Some businesses, if fully open, without better distancing standards, would be more likely to set us back, rather than to propel us forward. A more strategic approach is required to ensure that we don’t reopen only to have to shut down once again.”

The following week on Monday, April 27 current restrictions on surgeries will be lifted per the discretion of the doctor. Surgery restrictions do not include abortion clinics.

Currently, hospitals and other medical specialists are not allowed to perform any essential procedures such as diagnostics tests for cancer.

On the same day, Gov. Abbott plans to announce additional reopenings including restaurants and theaters.

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