Texas economy

The success of Governor Abbott’s plan to reopen the Texas economy hinges on what we do in our cities and counties

The decision to shut down the Texas economy was a tough call. Getting back to business safely becomes an equally difficult decision.

On Tuesday, Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton announced plans to relax stay-at-home orders and Dallas County Commissioners voted to extend Dallas County’s stay-at-home order through May 15. , both acting before the expiration of the governor’s statewide refuge. end of April.

It is essential that state and local authorities work together and that the timetables for reopening the Texas economy do not turn into a clash over local and state control. By law, Abbott has the final legal say on cities and counties, and he soon plans to issue a new executive order to reopen the economy and replace his statewide shelter-in-place order. through a gradual process.

There are encouraging signs in this pandemic, but we are far from done

Not all areas of Texas will be ready to relax shelter-in-place requirements in the same way at the same time. Abbott’s upcoming executive order is also expected to establish statewide minimum requirements for reopening the Texas economy and require cities and counties in Texas to meet key prerequisites, including testing. robust, reliable and verifiable coronaviruses. For progress to be made on testing, the state must dramatically increase the availability of testing and testing locations in cities and counties. And finally, the new order should allow county and city officials, closest to the needs of their communities, the flexibility to extend reopening hours if conditions in their jurisdictions require it.

For us, this is how governments should work together. Reopening the economy requires public confidence and credible, prudent and strategic planning from all levels of government.

We urge the governor and local officials to resist political pressure from protesters who want to reopen the economy immediately and without reservations. Reopening the economy carelessly could be counterproductive and dangerous. This moment requires measured and nuanced discussions to ensure the best possible protocols are put in place, not distractions that undermine the efforts of those working hard to ease the transition from shelter to work.

The gradual return of Texans to work does not signal the defeat of the virus. We must continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, wash our hands, and use common sense when venturing into our communities. Elderly people with underlying health conditions should be especially careful and take reasonable precautions.

State and local leaders must be lucid about infection and testing data when determining whether a return to work poses an extreme risk to public safety. And that assessment is best achieved through the cooperation, not competition, of all leaders.

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