Gov. Greg Abbott to discuss 'next steps' next week on reopening Texas

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Saturday, September 5, 2020
Gov. Abbott talks 'next steps' during pandemic next week
Gov. Abbott hinted at reopening Texas soon when he tweeted 'next steps' are coming as soon as next week.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A member of the Texas reopening task force believes the governor may restart the reopening process as soon as next week.

Gov. Greg Abbott hasn't issued a reopening order in about two months, when he reduced restaurant capacity, instituted a mask mandate and closed bars.

Since then, Etro Nightclub has sat dark.

"Every month, seeing all that money go out, and nothing come in," Etro Nightclub owner, Antonio Villalobos explained.

He added that he hopes things will change soon after seeing a tweet from the governor. The governor said he hopes to provide updates on next steps next week.

Bar owners hope it includes them.

"I got employees," Villalobos explained. "I got bills. I got rent. I've got to take care of all of these things."

Eyewitness News contacted the governor's office, but haven't heard back.

We did talk to Jim Mcingvale, who's part of the state's reopening task force. Mattress Mack said although the group talks each week, he's not sure what the governor will address.

"I think bars should reopen," Mcingvale said. "We're selecting the winners and losers in the economy, and I don't think that's really fair."

He said he would also like to see restaurants and churches expand capacity.

Mcingvale said the governor could address schools, mask orders and social distancing.

"I know the governor will make the right choice," Mcingvale said. "Let's put it that way."

Economic leaders also tell Eyewitness News that the governor could address the work search requirement for people on unemployment.

If he does restart the requirement, Texas Workforce Commission said people on benefits would have at least a two weeks notice before it resumes.

Houston and Harris County leaders worry the governor is moving too fast.

Although coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and the positivity rate has declined, Judge Lina Hidalgo said the start shouldn't move too quickly.

"The mistake has been made before. It's a temptation for all of us, all of us would like to be the bearer of good news, but it's a responsibility that us as leaders have in looking at our community to make sure that decisions are based on the numbers and that they're based on the best practices, and not on a inclination to pander," Hidalgo explained.

The governor's social media post was prompted by a question about the restaurant industry. In June, he reduced capacity to 50% after allowing restaurants to increase to 75%.

RELATED: Texas restaurants, bars scramble to reinvent themselves around Gov. Abbott's bar shutdown

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