While protests have broken out in states across the country full of people demanding the end of stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, not everyone is thrilled about the idea of reopening so quickly. This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the state will start reopening this Friday, May 1, following coronavirus lockdown measures that were previously in place. Still, people living in the state along with some local officials have objections, and are hoping that residents will continue to stay home.
On Monday, Abbott issued an executive order that supersedes any local orders across the state. According to the order, malls, stores, restaurants, and movie theaters may open at 25% capacity as of Thursday. However, barber shops, hair salons, massage parlors, gyms, and businesses of the like must wait until mid-May.
Friday will be the first phase of the state's reopening, and if Texas can contain the spread, phase two of reopening would increase occupancy to 50% and expand outdoor sporting events to more than four participants at a time, which Abbott says could come as early as May 18. "Now it's time to set a new course, a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas," Abbott said. "We will open in a way that uses safe standards — safe standards for businesses, for their employees as well as for their customers. Standards based upon data and on doctors."
Still, around Texas, other officials are advising the residents in their cities to continue to stay home. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson told CNN that he will continue encouraging residents there to practice good hygiene and keep social distancing, though he has no control over Abbott's official statewide order.
On Twitter, Texans voiced concern over the governor's decision to open up, saying that not only is it too early, but quite dangerous to do in a state that is still fighting the pandemic with the potential for major cities to hit new peaks. Some have expressed that it’s dangerous to begin to reopen Texas while less than one percent of the population has been tested for COVID-19. Others have said they’re afraid to go back to work and put themselves in danger. And a common argument remains that reopening the state is a ploy to avoid having to pay out unemployment checks, considering that if a business reopens but an employee chooses not to go to work out of fear for their safety, they're no longer eligible for unemployment..
As a result, the hashtag #SoTexas began trending on Tuesday, with residents of the state giving their own accounts (and uncensored feelings) about the state's reopening.
These critiques of reopening the state mirror Georgia residents' and business owners' concerns since the state moved to reopen last week. Texas now joins Tennessee and South Carolina on the list of states that have chosen to open businesses back up despite health experts warnings of a second wave occurring in the Winter.
"Just because something can be open doesn't mean it should be open," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told CNN this week, adding, "And just because something is open doesn't mean you should go there."