Texas’ economy is progressively reopening starting this week. The state has been under stay-at-home orders since April 2 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that approximately 20,000 Texans have tested positive for and has killed 517.
This past Monday, Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order allowing all state parks to reopen. All visitors are required to practice social distancing of at least six feet, be in groups of less than five and wear masks or face coverings.
On Wednesday, elective medical procedures will start being allowed.
Nonessential retailers will be allowed to reopen on Friday for curbside pickup. All employees are required to be checked for symptoms before entering the building, must maintain social distancing of at least six feet and wear face coverings.
On Monday, Abbott will announce the state’s next steps in reopening the economy.
Though the state didn’t issue stay-at-home orders until April 2, many of the largest counties in the state had already chosen to implement them for their area.
Dallas County began stay-at-home orders on March 23. Harris County, which houses Houston, began their own version of the stay at home orders March 24. The same day, Fort Worth and Arlington, which are part of Tarrant County, issued stay at home orders. The following day, March 25, my hometown, Burleson, a suburb of Fort Worth, issued stay-at-home orders.
Truth be told, I don’t know if opening my state’s economy at this time is a good idea. I also don’t know if it’s necessarily a bad idea.
On one hand, COVID-19 has devastated New York with approximately 242,000 people testing positive and killing approximately 13,000.
If Texas reopens the economy too quickly, we may find ourselves facing a second wave of the virus that leaves us in a position similar to what New York is in.
The longer we are able to maintain stay-at-home orders, the better chance there is that COVID-19 can be handled.
On the other hand, according to The Texas Tribune, approximately 1.02 million Texans filed for unemployment between March 15 and April 11.
Speaking from the perspective of a second semester senior in college who is set to graduate May 5, people need jobs.
In a perfect world, we could wait until the virus is cured and then everything could return to normal. Realistically though, we may not have that option.
Is opening the economy this early a good idea? We’ll just have to wait and see.