HOUSTON — It's been 113 days since COVID-19 first swept into Texas on March 4. Now the situation is far worse in Harris County and across the entire state after a third straight day of record breaking number of coronavirus cases. Here's a timeline of how Texas got to this point.
March 4: First COVID-19 cases detected in Fort Bend County.
March 31: Gov. Greg Abbott issues statewide "Stay Home" order
April 7: Gov. Abbott tells Texans "the worst of COVID-19 may soon be behind us."
April 27: Abbott unveils reopening plan. Tells Texans: "Now it's time to chart a new course, a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas."
April 30: Statewide stay at home order allowed to expire.
Local leaders Mayor Sylvester Turner and Judge Lina Hidalgo express their concerns and frustrations with reopening so soon.
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May 1 - May 18: Phase 1 of Texas reopening plan opens retail stores, malls, restaurants, museums, barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons among other businesses at 25%
May 18 - June 3: Phase 2 of Texas reopening plan opens child care centers, massage parlors, youth clubs, bars and nightclubs among other businesses. Businesses that opened during phase 1 can expand capacity to 50%.
June 3: Phase 3 begins. Bars allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
June 12: Restaurants and retail stores allowed to operate at 75% capacity.
June 16: As cases continue spiking in Texas, Abbott says "there's no reason to be alarmed."
June 24: After two days of record breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state of Texas, Abbott tells an Amarillo TV station: "There is a massive outbreak of COVID-19 across the state of Texas."
June 25: Abbott decides to hit pause on Texas reopening to allow Texas time to stop the spike. The governor also signed an executive order postponing elective procedures in the state's four largest counties.
Infectious disease and vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez says Abbott's moves may not be able to stop the spike.
June 26: Bars ordered to close at noon Friday, restaurants to go to 50 percent capacity Monday. Tubing and rafting businesses must close and gatherings of 100 or more must get state approval.
"I actually think that may not be enough," said Hotez. "We still need to dial back things more and potentially go into red alert, but at least it's a beginning."
The governor's action doesn't close down businesses or cut back capacity levels. It freezes reopening from moving to the next phase.
"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," said Hotez. "We can't let this go another two weeks. This is the time to do it."
Abbott has maintained he doesn't want to go backwards and have to close down businesses again. He's asking people to stay home as much as possible and if they do go out to please put on their masks.
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