Report: Abbott could close Texas again

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott adjusts his mask after giving an update on the categories of medical surge facilities and how it effects Level 5 of maintaining staffed beds during a press conference at Texas Department of Public Safety, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Houston. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Texas governor Greg Abbott says that the lack of mask orders and the rising number of COVID-19 cases could necessitate a second closure of the state.

In an interview with CBS19 in Tyler, Abbott admitted it would be a last resort.

“It’s disappointing. And again, I can understand the mindset being a kid who grew up in Longview myself, that this may not be the top priority. A murderer, or a rapist or a robber is far more serious to concentrate on. However, I know this also, and that is if we do not all join together and unite in this one cause for a short period of time, of adopting a mask, what it will lead to the necessity of having to close Texas back down. That should be the last thing that any government wants ⁠— the last thing that any business owner wants. Your business owners in Tyler ⁠— in Longview, they should be demanding that their government officials enforce this face mask order now to make sure they will be able to stay open. And the only way those businesses are going to stay open is to make sure people wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.”

Governor Abbott says that wearing a face covering is “one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

“We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.” 

As of Thursday, there were 230,346 positive COVID-19 cases, representing 0.794% of the state’s population. On Wednesday, the state tallied its record-number of fatalities with 98 only to be outdone on Thursday with 105.