Governor Greg Abbott pauses additional reopening phases due to surge in COVID-19 in Texas

Increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations led to decision, governor said

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott adjusts his mask, June 16, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) (Ricardo B. Brazziell, AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

AUSTIN, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott is temporarily pausing additional plans to reopen Texas.

The Thursday announcement comes after Texas has seen major increases in positive coronavirus cases including a record-high 5,551 new cases on Wednesday.

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Businesses already permitted to open under previous reopening phases can continue operation at occupancy levels designated in previous phases, however, businesses are still expected to maintain minimum standard health protocols provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” Abbott said.

In a news conference earlier this week, Abbott said closing the state “will always be the last option.”

Texas governor says coronavirus is spreading at ‘unacceptable rate,’ stops short of issuing new restrictions

The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business,” Abbott said in a statement on Thursday.

Abbott also asked Texans to “do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”

An executive order issued by Abbott Thursday also suspends elective surgeries in Bexar County, along with Dallas, Harris, Travis counties.

The last reopening expansion was announced on June 3 with Executive Order GA 26 which allowed nearly all Texas businesses to open at 50% capacity.

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