Coronavirus: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott eases restrictions

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott eases some restrictions in fight against the coronavirus

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced executive orders Friday that will ease some of the most severe restrictions imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19.

However, all Texas classrooms, public and private, will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

Abbott said that all stores in Texas will be able to operate retail to-go beginning next Friday, one week from today.

Abbott said state parks will be reopened beginning this coming Monday. Visitors must wear face coverings or masks and maintain a distance of six feet from non-family members and not gather in groups of more than five.

He said that effective April 22, the ban on non-essential surgery will be loosened to allow doctors to diagnose and treat more conditions, like diagnostic testing for cancer, without having to get an exemption.

Abbott said he was imposing infection control procedures to better protect residents of nursing homes and senior living centers and to limit movement of staff between facilities.

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Abbott also named a Strike Force to Open Texas led by banker James Huffines, with Mike Toomey as its chief operating officer. Toomey, a former chief of staff to Govs. Rick Perry and Bill Clements, has taken a leave of absence from Texas Lobby Group to take the position.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, state House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, state Attorney General Ken Paxton, and state Comptroller Glenn Hegar will serve as consulting members of the strike force.

Abbott named Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt as chief medical officer of the strike force, supported by three chief medical advisers - Dr. John Zerwas, executive vice-chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System; Dr. Mark McClellan, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and…
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