As of December … [46] The reopening process also establishes the Strike Force to Open Texas, an advisory panel to Abbott for reopening economy. River-rafting businesses were also ordered to close and outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people without local government approval were banned. The boy's family was upset that he wasn't allowed to take his exams at home. [74], The first positive test result for COVID-19 in Texas, outside of the evacuees quarantined at JBSA–Lackland from China and the Diamond Princess cruise ship, was reported by the DSHS on March 4 and involved a resident of Fort Bend County. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas businesses would be "governed by the science and the data" but described protesters … The phase also provided a timetable for amusement parks, carnivals, and restaurants to begin increasing their capacity further out to June 18. Greg Abbott instructs state agencies to trim budgets by 5% to prepare for 'economic shock, "How'd we get here? COVID-19 Response has Been Starkly Different for Indigenous Communities in Texas While coronavirus rates remain high, officials have taken unprecedented actions not found anywhere else in the state. [127][148][149] State parks were also ordered to reopen with COVID-19 regulations on April 20. El Paso had daily case counts of over 1,000 per day, and hospitals were overwhelmed, with 44% of patients under treatment for COVID-19.[72][73]. According to the dashboard, 89 cases are considered active. [182] Entering mid-June, restaurants were allowed to operate at increased capacity and most businesses were opened under Phase III of the state's reopening plan. [42][112] Two days later, hospitals were allowed to have more than one patient per room and "elective or non-essential" medical procedures were ordered suspended. [247] On April 17, Abbott said that Texas public schools would be closed for the remainder of the 2019–20 school year and that schools will continue to offer distance learning. [27], On March 13, Abbott declares a state of disaster for all counties in Texas, invoking emergency powers for the his administration, and orders state employees to work from home. [169][170][171][172] Nine members of the Texas Freedom Caucus in the Texas House of Representatives sent a letter to Abbott on April 14 pressing for business restrictions to be loosened "to the greatest extent possible. The cases involve individuals in the counties of Fort Bend and Harris counties. Last 15 days. Greg Abbott's plan to re-open Texas", "Gov. Persse cautioned that the recent protests were unlikely to be the cause if there's a prolonged spike in cases. The COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. state of Texas by March 2020. [270] On July 21, the UIL announced its plan to resume fall sports, splitting them into two categories: football and volleyball practices would begin first with 1A through 4A schools on August 3, schools with 5A and 6A designations would resume practices on September 7, with state football championships held in January. [258][259], All major professional sports leagues in Texas suspended play, including the NBA (Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs)[260] NHL (Dallas Stars),[261] Major League Baseball (Texas Rangers and Houston Astros),[262] and Major League Soccer (Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas). [1] An executive order issued by Abbott mandates visitors flying to Texas from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and New Orleans, Louisiana, to self-quarantine for 14 days. Dan Patrick comes under fire for saying seniors should 'take a chance' on their own lives for sake of grandchildren during coronavirus crisis", "What about younger sick people, Dan Patrick? Texas has seen over 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and one city that has been hit particularly hard is El Paso. May [215] Bridges said enforcing public health measures during the pandemic "is not something we have time to be doing", despite health experts' agreement that mask wearing reduces transmission significantly. County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county's top elected official, discussed the concerns of protesters becoming infected with the virus -- as well as police officers. [179] Hidalgo stated that the reopening occurred "too quickly" and that other communities seeking to reopen would need to heed the spike in cases as "a word of warning". [123][124], Texas Historical Commission historical sites and state parks were closed beginning at 5 p.m. April 7,[125][126] remaining closed until an executive order reopened them on April 20. [265], On May 28, Governor Abbott announced that professional sporting events at outdoor venues would be allowed to admit a limited number of spectators, capped at 25% of normal capacity, and subject to approval by health authorities. Officials with the city of Amarillo confirmed the first two COVID-19 cases in the Texas Panhandle during a … Day cares, nursing homes, and prisons are asked to limit visitations. [63][64][65], On July 2, Abbott mandates the wearing of face coverings in public spaces through an executive order, stating that it is "one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19. European protesters, railing against anti-COVID-19 restrictions, resorted to a weird public flash mob similar to a recent one in Toronto. The forecast Monday by state officials is brighter than bleak projections last summer that warned of a spending deficit four times the size. [18][19] Rice University becomes the first university in the state to enact significant cancellations, suspending in-person classes and undergraduate labs during the week in response to an employee testing positive in connection with the viral cluster that traveled to Egypt. [241], After the announcement of the ban of gatherings of over 500 people on March 13 (in San Antonio), Fiesta San Antonio postponed their event to November 2020, that was originally slated for mid-April and eventually cancelled to April 2021. No capacity limits on most outdoor areas. [127][128] The state government continued to relax regulations regarding medical protocols through April. TX – There was no shortage of news in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic, a recession, monumental protests and a historic election dominated Texans’ lives. April 18, 2020 at 4:34 pm. Greg Abbott to let restaurants, movie theaters and malls open with limited capacity Friday", "Gov. Texas has case incidence and COVID fatality rates near the U.S. median, but as the second most populous state, has had a large number of deaths from COVID-19. [7][8][9] Testing capacity across the state remained extremely limited until after the first recorded cases were announced. Texas Gov. Protesters rally at the Texas State Capitol to speak out against Texas' handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, in Austin, Texas, Saturday, April 18, 2020. "If it stays at this, this sort of same rate of increase, then I definitely won't say you can blame the protests," Persse said. AUSTIN, Texas (KTAL/KSHV) — Large providers in Texas who can vaccinate a total of more than 100,000 people will receive the coronavirus vaccine starting next week. Jul [44], On April 17, Abbott announces the start of his plan to reopen the Texas economy, citing a "semi-flattened curve" of COVID-19 cases in the state. "[80], The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases confirmed by the DSHS reached 10,000 on April 9 and 100,000 on June 19. Social gatherings involving more than 10 people were also prohibited. [13][75] A total of 12 positive test results were reported in Fort Bend and Harris counties from travelers aboard the same ship. [136], On March 23, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick made controversial statements on the Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight, saying that "as a senior citizen", he was "willing to take a chance on [his] survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for [his] children and grandchildren," later suggesting that grandparents in the country would do the same and advocating that the U.S. "get back to work. Abbott's latest order raises more enforcement questions as Texas businesses reopen", "Texas, Florida Officials Say Their States' Reopenings Contributed to COVID Spike", "Gov. Protests against President Donald Trump and Republicans happened in Houston Thursday following the deadly insurrection of the U.S. Capitol. | iHeartRadio Sept. 4, 2020. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./ [166], Reactions to the initial efforts to reopen Texas businesses were fraught with partisan divides,[167][168] with the overall reaction described as "mixed" by several news agencies. [11] Two days later, the DSHS reports a presumptive positive test result for COVID-19 from a resident of Fort Bend County in the Houston area. [17], On March 8, JBSA–Lackland receives around 100 evacuees from the cruise ship Grand Princess following a localized outbreak on board. Dec [97], A state of disaster was declared by Abbott for all counties in Texas on March 13, giving emergency powers to Abbott and his administration to order lockdowns. [250] The CDC issued guidelines for K-12 school administrators to help "protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of students, teachers, other school staff, their families, and communities" as they prepare to return to school in fall 2020. Dallas County announced an additional 298 positive cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 11,541. "[188] Republican State Representative Jonathan Stickland tweeted "[Abbott] thinks he is KING! Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, a former Central Texas state representative, has tested positive for COVID-19. Following a pronounced outbreak of COVID-19 in the state (with the weekly average of new cases increasing by 79 percent) and a large increase in hospitalizations, Abbott paused the reopening process on June 25. The Championship is one of the world's largest gatherings in competitive robotics. The phase also allowed bars and office building tenants to begin operating with limited occupancy in addition to raising the restaurant occupancy cap to 50 percent. Start of Phase III: All businesses able to operate at up to 50% capacity. Texas prisons have seen over 27,000 COVID-19 cases, almost 11 percent of the total Texas incarcerated population. Greg Abbott waives STAAR test requirements amid COVID-19 school closures", "Gov. [117][118] A three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit reaffirmed the ban on April 10. ... Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. [235] Several Texas bar owners filed a $10 million federal lawsuit stating that Abbott's order violates their constitutional rights; the order impacted restaurants with high alcohol sales as well, with the Texas Restaurant Association estimating that at least 1,500 restaurants that serve alcohol were forced to close, which displaced more than 35,000 employees. A man in his 70s, he is the first known positive case of the disease in Texas outside of those evacuated from Wuhan and the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Abbott specifically avoided use of the terms "stay-at-home order" or "shelter-in-place" to describe the order, arguing that they were either misnomers (shelter-in-place usually referred to emergency situations) or did not adequately reflect the goal of the order. Data is publicly reported by Texas Department of State Health Services. The order also requires most outdoor gatherings with at least 100 people to seek approval by local governments. Telehealth options expanded. [159][160] The next day, Abbott issued an executive order closing bars and rafting/tubing businesses, representing the first rollbacks on the reopening plan. [134][135], Between May and June 2020, the Texas state government began loosening restrictions on businesses and activities in a series of phases amid the pandemic, allowing businesses to reopen and operate with increasing capacity. Pharmacy technicians were authorized to accept over-the-phone prescription drug orders beginning on April 7 and telehealth services were authorized across a broad range of telecommunication media. Other counties and cities followed suit. Two of Texas' biggest cities are reporting an uptick in COVID-19 cases over the past several days as concerns mount over how protests sparked by the death of George Floyd may be increasing the spread of the virus. [102] The Texas Supreme Court ruled to suspend most eviction proceedings by at least a month on March 19. [183][62] On June 26, bars were ordered to shut down and restaurants were ordered to lower their maximum operating capacity to 50 percent in what The Texas Tribune called Abbott's "most drastic action yet to respond to the post-reopening coronavirus surge in Texas". [12] The patient had recently traveled to Egypt and was hospitalized. Following stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders by counties, cities, and other local jurisdictions, the state government began directing the closure of some businesses beginning on March 19, and a statewide stay-at-home order went into effect on March 26 amid other restrictions on activities and businesses. Abbott Imposes Statewide Restrictions For 2 Weeks, No Gatherings Of 10 Or More", "Gov. [6], Mar [40] DSHS Director Hellerstedt issues the disaster declaration as the disease "has created an immediate threat, poses a high risk of death to a large number of people and creates a substantial risk of public exposure because of the disease’s method of transmission and evidence that there is community spread in Texas. Roughly 100 protesters gathered outside the Texas governor’s mansion this afternoon to protest the statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Hours: 24/7 *If you experience difficulty when dialing 2-1-1, please email [253][254] On May 20, it was announced that UT-Austin would open the campus for the Fall semester of 2020, but would conduct all classes and tests remotely after Thanksgiving break. The pandemic, protests and the polls: Texas' 2020 in photos. [55] Abbott orders the HHSC to reinstate COVID-19 health and safety standards at child care centers, reversing the agency's lifting of those requirements on June 12. [239] The attendance for the rodeo on February 28, was 77,632, with 73,433 of the visitors went to the "World Championship Barb-B-Que Contest," where that person attended. According to the dashboard, 89 cases are considered active. Notes: The initial origin of community spread in Texas remains unclear, but numerous anecdotal accounts by those later confirmed have included onset dates as early as December 28 in Point Venture, and retrospective analyses have found unexplained statistical increases in deaths during this time. The first documented case in Texas was confirmed on February 13 among U.S. nationals evacuated from China to Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland beginning in early February; however, retrospective analyses have suggested a much earlier origin than previously thought. Driver license expiration date extended and Driver License offices closed. [36] The state mandated 14-day quarantines for travelers arriving from pandemic hotspots in the U.S. beginning on March 26 until all travel restrictions were lifted on May 21. As Houston, Austin, Dallas and other Texas cities cleaned up after the weekend’s demonstrations, some local politicians have asked protesters to monitor themselves for COVID-19 … Jun [233][234] In response to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, Abbott issued an executive order shutting down bars for a second time since the beginning of the pandemic. Texas reported a record-breaking number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday as the governor ushers in Phase III to reopen the economy and health experts fear a resurgence amid nationwide protests. [80][35][81] According to the DSHS, the state exceeded 100 total cases of COVID-19 by March 19 and 1,000 cases by March 26. "[243][244], Among the closures of school districts and universities across the state, Abbott waived all State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing for the 2019–20 school year for public grade schools on March 16. "[173] Following the first announcement of reopenings on April 17, Texas Representative Chris Turner, the leader of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, said that Texas needed to have "widespread testing available" before reopening businesses. Restaurant occupancy limit increased to 50%. [127][147] The team includes state leaders, medical experts, and a business advisory group; all consulting members were members of the Republican Party. Meanwhile, the city of Houston, in Harris County, announced there were 180 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the city to 8,231. [264] In April 2020, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) cancelled all spring high school sports state-wide. His family asks community for help celebrating his 5th birthday By Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN 11/17/2020. Greg Abbott says", "Texas Sets Records for COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations; Gov. Protesters ignore social distancing guidelines at a rally outside the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. [218], On October 29, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged a two-week shutdown of nonessential businesses ordered by El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego. [7], Research from Austin Public Health conducted in May found 68 COVID-19 patients in Central Texas who began reporting symptoms dating back to around the beginning of March. Gov. Greg Abbott orders Texans to "minimize" nonessential activity outside their homes", "Governor Abbott announces closing schools for the 2019–2020 school year", "Texas officials scramble to provide school reopening guidelines with only weeks of summer left", "School districts across Texas suspend classes over coronavirus concerns, prepare for online learning", "Communities, Schools, Workplaces, & Events", "Texas universities are getting millions in federal money to offset coronavirus losses. Photo: AFP New York, epicentre of the US epidemic, yesterday reported another 540 coronavirus-related deaths for the previous day, the lowest daily tally since 1 April. The total number of tests passed 100,000 on April 9 and passed 1 million on May 28, 2020. In response, the governor said this had been the "plan all along", which some local officials doubted,[212] and that the judge "finally figured that out". Aug [164] A Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters released on June 3 found that 49 percent approved of Abbott's handling of stay-home restrictions while 38 percent believed Abbott moved "too fast" with the reopening. Black Lives Matter protests and marches in Abilene have been peaceful. [174] Many public health experts lauded the phased approach but iterated the need for increased testing in the state. [213], Nacogdoches County sheriff Jason Bridges announced he would not be enforcing the statewide mask order, because it was "borderline infringing on some ... constitutional rights", even though legal experts agree[214] such measures are constitutional under the state's police power. [225] The announcement comes a day after the company announced that its Houston area stores would be the only locations to implement changes to their operations. "[145] On April 17, Abbott began the process of reopening the Texas economy,[146] establishing the Strike Force To Open Texas in an executive order to "study and make recommendations... for revitalizing the Texas economy". [69], On August 11, Texas became the third state in the U.S. after California and Florida to exceed 500,000 in total number of reported cases. A briefing was held by Abbott on January 27 concerning the COVID-19 outbreak; HHS Commissioner Courtney Philips, DSHS Health Services Commissioner John William Hellerstedt, and TDEM Chief Nim Kidd delivered the briefing. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, a former Central Texas state representative, has tested positive for COVID-19. Both Schlitterbahn waterparks announced they'd be the first major water park in the state to reopen in mid-June. As of December 21, 2020[update], Texas has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the United States, behind California, and the 28th highest number of confirmed cases per capita. Photojournalists captured the unforgettable images that defined an epic year in Texas as people grappled with the … Other types of businesses were given staggered opening dates out to May 31 under Phase II. Bars ordered to shut down and restaurant capacity limits reduced to 50%. [109] The federal government supplied $628.8 million in public assistance grants to Texas through FEMA following a federal disaster declaration on March 25. May [151][152] Businesses in counties with five or fewer cases of COVID-19 were allowed to operate with increased occupancy once Phase I went into effect. Abbott pauses Texas reopening plan as cases continue to soar", "Reopening Plans Across U.S. Are Creating Confusing Patchwork", "Is Texas the first state to roll out a timeline to begin reopening? Abbott announces", "Almost all Texas businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity, Gov. "[citation needed], On March 13, Six Flags (based in Texas) suspended operations to all twelve of their properties nationwide as well as in Mexico, that were operating in the month of March, until the end of the month; these include the two Texas parks, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Six Flags Over Texas. [155] Abbott announced the initiation of Phase II of the reopening plan on May 18, under which child care centers, massage and personal-care centers, and youth clubs were allowed to open promptly. Hair salons and pools authorized to reopen. [250][251] The closures are not without precedent, as many schools closed for two weeks during the 2009 H1N1 flu when Houston experienced a major outbreak. You combine the risks of COVID-19 and a situation where there’s not adequate safety infrastructure in place: a recipe for a disaster. Texas hit a new record high for COVID-19 hospitalizations Sunday, as a surge of the virus continued to strain state medical resources following holiday travel and gatherings. [49][50], On May 5, Abbott modifies his earlier reopening timetable, allowing barbershops, hairdressers, and nail salons to begin reopening on May 8 while maintaining social distancing. State parks and historical sites reopened. Rising unemployment and a resurgence of the coronavirus are not a good combination for the Texas economy. [170][175] As the reopening plan progressed, Republican legislators pressured Abbott to open additional business sectors and accelerate the reopening process while Democratic legislators criticized the governor for the rapid pace of reopening. Abbott issues orders to postpone non-essential surgeries, expand Texas hospital capacity amid warning about lack of beds", "No abortions in Texas unless the mother's life is in danger, Texas attorney general says as coronavirus spreads", "Abortion providers sue Texas over coronavirus-related order", "Texas and Ohio Include Abortion as Medical Procedures That Must Be Delayed", "Appeals court temporarily re-instates Texas order limiting abortion access over coronavirus", "Federal judge temporarily blocks Texas' ban on abortions during coronavirus pandemic", "Federal Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Abortion Ban Instituted During COVID-19 Crisis", "Gov. [256] On June 8, both UT-Austin and Texas A&M University announced that wearing masks will be required when inside campus buildings during the Fall 2020 semester. The panel is led by James Huffines with Mike Toomey as its chief operating officer; its consulting members are all members of the Republican Party. It indicated that healthcare capacity of the Greater Austin metropolitan area would be exceeded if "extensive social distancing measures" were not implemented. As a result, the number of new cases began to rise in early May. Protests erupt over coronavirus restrictions. [20] The next day, the cumulative number of confirmed cases in Texas reported by the DSHS surpasses 10. Greg Abbott orders Texas bars to close again and restaurants to reduce to 50% occupancy as coronavirus spreads", "Texas becomes the first state to reimpose restrictions after lifting stay-at-home order on April 30", "Gov. [67] Children younger than 10 years old, people with an interfering medical condition are exempted from the order, as well as people attending church, voting at polling places, or exercising outdoors. Dan Patrick says a failing economy is worse than coronavirus", "Texas Lt. Gov. cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}"Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)". 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