Mayor Turner won't rush to reopen Houston in step with Texas order

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott set his timeline to reopen the state in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, on the heels of the announcement, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Friday he and his top officials are assessing the guidelines from the state, and he expects to name on Monday a local leader to see the reopening of the city through.

Turner impressed upon the importance of a "measured approach" to reopening. Abbott's executive order stipulated all retailers in the state can reopen starting next Friday but on a "to-go" basis.

The mayor cited several factors for the steady approach to rolling out the governor's guidelines. Turner added two more coronavirus deaths in his city, raising the death toll to 31. All of the deaths so far involved people with underlying health conditions.

Working on that fact, Turner said he had the most medically-vulnerable Houstonians in mind for any method and timeline of reopening.

Aside from the new deaths, Turner announced 114 new cases in the city, putting Houston over the 2,500-threshold.

Even though Abbott said optimistically that the state is past the "worst" of the virus, Turner countered that the city is still not at the peak and "still in the storm." Still, Turner insists the sacrifices, including social distancing and going in public with masks, are working.

SEE ALSO: Texas becomes first state to announce dates easing COVID-19 restrictions

One thing that Turner agrees on with the executive order is the closure of campus for the rest of the school year.

Both county and city leaders believe maintained social distancing has kept the pandemic from getting to levels similar to New York, Chicago and New Orleans.

Earlier in the week, Turner touted the low ratio of cases and deaths per 100,000 people living in the city, despite Texas ranking near the bottom of testing rates.

TIMELINE: Here are the dates when things can reopen in Texas

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