Friday Texas governor Greg Abbott announced “Texas is Opening Safe, Smart, and Strong.”
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 23, 2020
Moments later failed 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke blasted Gov. Abbott’s announcement in a pair of tweets.
A deadly lesson in failed leadership: Texas leads the country in uncontrolled spread of coronavirus. Despite what Trump & co. (Abbott & Patrick) say, stay home if you can & wear a mask if you have to go out. It will save lives.
He then responded to Abbott directly and wrote “Dangerous, dumb and weak.”
TexasTribune reports in allowing more businesses in Texas to open, Abbott has said he’s following data and experts to guide his decisions. However, reopening criteria issued by the White House suggest that states should have a “downward trajectory” either of documented coronavirus cases or of the percentage of positive tests. Abbott has said he’s been focused on slightly different numbers to help guide the reopening, including the rate of Texans hospitalized due to the coronavirus.
“Gov. Abbott’s focus is to keep Texans safe while also restoring their ability to get back to work, pay their bills and put food on their tables,” said John Wittman, a spokesman for the governor’s office. “That is why he is opening the Texas economy in a safe and strategic manner that relies on data and doctors and will protect lives while restoring livelihoods.“
The governor has faced criticism in recent months for being too slow to shut down the state — and then for taking too long to allow some businesses to return. This month, he moved to reopen certain businesses sooner than he initially indicated. Other businesses allowed to open with restrictions as part of Abbott’s recent announcement include gyms, zoos, tattoo parlors, bingo halls and bowling alleys. Hair salons were initially expected to be part of Abbott’s latest round of announcements, he said in April, but that changed after pressure from some fellow Republicans to open sooner.
Meanwhile, the state’s economic revitalization — and the country’s — may only go as far as oil and gas will allow, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Already during the pandemic, the price of oil briefly plunged negative, and many Texas oil producers have closed their wells and stopped production.