Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Offers a Few Hints About Reopening the State

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to reopen Texas for business. Figuring out how is the hard part.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to reopen Texas for business. Figuring out how is the hard part.
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Monday was the tease for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. After saying last week that he intended to offer plans to reopen Texas' economy this week, the governor gave only the slightest hint as to what that might entail Monday.

The only real news the governor made Monday was helping to announce a new, $50 million payroll support program with Goldman Sachs. The program, according to the governor and the bank, is intended to keep Texans on small-business payrolls during the novel coronavirus shutdown of the state's economy.

After hopping off a Zoom call announcing the Goldman Sachs program, Abbott told reporters about his plan — or, more accurately, his plan to have a plan — to get businesses going again.

"We're going to be introducing Texas to this comprehensive team that we have put together, that will very comprehensively, carefully, strategically evaluate what must be done to open back up," Abbott said, "ensuring that what we're doing is consistent with data, with medical analysis, as well as strategies about which type of businesses are able to open back up. This is not a 'rush the gates, everyone is going to be able to open all at once.'"

As quickly as possible, Abbott wants the economy out of the deep freeze in which it currently sits but doesn't, at least for the moment, seem like he's desperate to return to the way things were in late February.

"We must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19," the governor said. 

Reopening any portion of the economy will mean vastly increased testing. Abbott said he talked to Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Monday morning about putting together the testing regime necessary for the state to come out of hibernation.

"Those will be issues that we'll go over in greater detail later on this week," Abbott said.

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