AUSTIN, Texas — In a live interview on KVUE live at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 10, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said any effort to reopen businesses in Texas must include strategies to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Abbott said an executive order regarding plans to the reopen Texas businesses is expected to come sometime in the coming week.
Abbott didn't offer additional details on the executive order but said the state was focusing on protecting lives while also restoring livelihoods.
He said the state is working with the White House on the process and any reopening would have to be gradual.
"You can't just open up all businesses all of the sudden, because if that were to happen we would see a rise in the coronavirus again," Abbott told KVUE. "So what we will be talking about next week is an executive order talking about how we're going to go about this process of opening up business, and that must include the appropriate medical strategies to make sure that we are not going to be increasing the spread of the coronavirus."
Abbott said those strategies could be implemented in "a few weeks."
For those in Texas who have lost work due to the pandemic, Abbott said additional hours and manpower at the Texas Workforce Commission is just now beginning to pick up the backlog of unemployment claims.
He said around 350,000 claims have already been paid, totaling around $250 million.
The commission has expanded its hours to deal with the record number of claims, with Texans filing nearly 1 million claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abbott said while he doesn't believe Travis County has reached its peak in coronavirus cases, it is "one of the better counties" in Texas tackling the spread.
He said we have not reached our peak of cases in Texas yet, and we will only reach our peak if people continue to follow stay-at-home guidelines.
Gov. Abbott has directed the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) to close all state parks and historic sites to back state-wide social distancing and stay-at-home efforts.
Abbott announced at a news conference on April 8 that Walgreens will soon offer drive-thru testing at some locations for COVID-19. These tests, which are developed by Abbott Labs, should give a result in 15 minutes, Abbott said.
Gov. Abbott is expected to announce a plan to eventually reopen Texas businesses on Friday, April 17.
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