SAN ANTONIO – As COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue surging throughout Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday there are no plans for an imminent economic shutdown as long as Texans are able to reduce the spread of the virus.
Abbott addressed the shutdown rumor during an interview with KSAT 12 News at Noon.
“Let me be clear about this because a lot of people are asking about that question,” Abbott said. “There are rumors out there that there will be an imminent shutdown and that is not the case.”
Abbott said the executive actions he’s already taken, such as mandating face masks and shutting down bars, should help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Abbott also extended his disaster declaration for all Texas counties, which was originally issued on March 13.
The public needs to take the mask mandate seriously, Abbott stressed.
“The goal is to ensure that people can continue to go to work and continue to engage the economy,” Abbott said. “The only way we can do that, however, is for people to follow the requirement of wearing the face mask. This has proven effective in other countries and other states.”
In some parts of Texas, law enforcement officials have said they will not enforce the mask mandate. Abbott acknowledged that violent crime takes priority, but had a message for officials who refuse to enforce the policy.
“Law enforcement as well as all government officials at every level in every county in the state, they need to recognize they are going to be part of the problem or part of the solution,” Abbott said.
If people continue wearing face masks, Abbott said, the spread of the virus will be slowed and hospitalizations will be reduced. If not, the consequences could be disastrous.
“That could eventually lead to a return to a lockdown in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “We do not want that, hence we need everybody to join us in this effort.”
The COVID-19 death toll in Texas stands at 2,918. Officials also reported a new high for hospitalizations for the 10th consecutive day on Thursday, and the rolling rate of positive tests inched closer to nearly 16% — the highest in the pandemic yet, the Associated Press reported.
More than 9,600 Texans remain hospitalized due to COVID-19. In San Antonio, where 17,679 have tested positive for COVID-19, about 1,216 patients are hospitalized due to the virus.