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Gov. Abbott to release details Friday on plan to reopen Texas economy

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Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks at a press conference about the state’s coronavirus response at the Texas State Capitol on April 10, 2020. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

This article has been updated to reflect the time of the announcement.

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will release details Friday on his plan to jumpstart the Texas economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Abbott’s communications office confirmed the announcement Wednesday, but did not immediately share any additional details about the timing or substance of the plan. His office relayed Thursday afternoon that the press conference would take place Friday at noon from the Capitol.

“This is not going to be a ‘rush the gates, everybody is able to suddenly reopen all at once,'” Abbott said in a news conference on Monday. “We have to understand that we must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19.”

“We’re going to be introducing Texas to this comprehensive team that we have put together, that will very comprehensively, carefully, strategically evaluate what must be done for Texas to open back up,” he explained Monday, “ensuring that what we’re doing is consistent with data with medical analysis, as well as strategies about which type of businesses will be able to open up.”

Abbott has waived dozens of regulations in response to the pandemic, and shut Texas schools down until at least May 4.

On Monday, he said the state had paid out more than 1 million unemployment claims, amounting to “well over $400 million.”

Abbott has faced mounting pressure from some House Republicans to loosen his state-wide executive order “to the greatest extent possible while giving local jurisdictions the flexibility to respond to local conditions.”

Some House Democrats have warned about “re-opening the economy” before large-scale testing capability is readily available.

“Reopening before we have test and trace capacity is incredibly dangerous,” State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, tweeted Tuesday.

On Monday, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said the sooner Texans can abide by the federal social distancing and sanitizing guidelines about washing hands and staying home, “the sooner this economy is going to get kicked back off.”

“The more effective we are at shutting this virus down right now while we’re going through this process we’re already in, the more effective to do that, that we can then launch our economy out of that and not end up going backwards because we didn’t follow these guidelines,” Bonnen said.

“Even when we restart the economy, social distancing is still going to have to occur,” Bonnen said.

“I’m just concerned about getting that economy going as soon as we reasonably, medically, scientifically can, but also Texans understanding that we’re going to have to walk out of this, we’re not going to be able to sprint out of it,” Bonnen added.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, tweeted Wednesday afternoon that the state “rightly focused on keeping only essential services open” as Texans mobilized to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“Recently a friend texted me, saying that we should also focus to thinking of biz’s that are safe to open and those that are unsafe,” he tweeted, agreeing with that sentiment.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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