- The Washington Times - Friday, April 17, 2020

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday he is starting to re-open his state, but noted it is not safe for students to go back to school, wrapping up the 2019 school year for students in the Lone Star state.

“Opening Texas must occur in stages. Obviously, not all businesses can open all at once on May 1st,” the governor said at a press conference Friday.

The first openings will occur next week and then the governor will announce new phase-ins on April 27, with more coming in May.

“We can get folks back to work. We can adopt safe strategies that prevent the spread of COVID-19 and step-by-step, we will open Texas,” Mr. Abbott announced.

He said the state’s hospitals have enough capacity and personal protective equipment for restrictions on surgeries to be loosened.

“It is time to allow those doctors and nurses to return to work,” he said, noting that can occur on April 22.

Meanwhile, retailers in the state can operate “retail to go” beginning next Friday. He said there will be restrictions for retailers to minimize contact with others to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

State parks will begin to open Monday, but groups larger than five are not allowed to cluster together. Social distancing must also be practiced.

Schools, though, remain unsafe so they will be closed for the remainder of the year.

“Texans are battling a colossal challenge,” Mr. Abbott said. “Part of the Texas brand, however, is our ability to overcome challenges. We have overcome far more challenges than we have possibly count.”

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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