Texas Governor Greg Abbott will not be closing down his state despite a spike in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths.
The Texas Tribune reports Abbott announced last week that if the spread of the coronavirus did not slow, “the next step would have to be a lockdown.”
But, now he is shifting his stance.
Speaking with KRIV-TV in Houston, Abbott said: “Let me tell you, there is no shutdown coming.”
“People are panicking, thinking I’m about to shut down Texas again,” he added. “The answer is no. That is not the goal. I’ve been abundantly clear.”
According to the report, Abbott said measures he has taken in recent weeks, including a statewide mask mandate and an order shutting down bars, will slow the spread of the virus enough not to warrant another complete shutdown.
The Republican governor also encouraged residents to be smart when venturing out in public, should they choose to do so.
“We are certainly not out of the woods yet, but this could be a glimmer of hope,” he said. “But the only way we can avoid a shutdown is if we do get everybody buying into this process of wearing a face mask.”
The Texas Tribune adds:
Earlier Thursday, Abbott defended his coronavirus response at the Texas GOP convention after acknowledging widespread discontent among party members. Several Republican officials have voiced their criticism of Abbott’s statewide mask order.
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“The last thing that any of us want is to lock Texas back down again,” he said during the virtual convention.
The Texas Tribune also reports 20 percent of Texas’ coronavirus-related deaths have come within the past week.