In the wake of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order to allow many businesses in the state to reopen with limited capacity, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson says he's focused on ensuring the city safely executes the decision.
The plan allows malls, retail, restaurants, libraries and museums in Texas to open Friday at 25% capacity.
Johnson said, while some may question the timing of the decision, the mayor said his job is to make sure it's a success.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
"There was always going to be a debate about when the right time to do this was, but state law gives the governor the authority to make that call, and he’s made it, Johnson said. "And now my role, and my job as mayor, is to make sure that that decision turns out to be the right one."
It’s his job to make sure Dallas stays safe, Johnson said, by continuing to implement social distancing, keeping vulnerable populations at home and doing whatever he can to increase testing and contact tracing.
Dallas County reported 135 additional cases of the new coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the countywide total to 3,240. The county has also reported 94 total deaths due to COVID-19.
The county has tested about 1% of its population, based on the numbers Johnson said he had seen. He said the county needs more testing.
"I just want to make sure that we get it fixed," the mayor said. "So I am going to do everything I can as mayor to increase the amount of testing that we do here locally."
Johnson said he will continue to push the business community to help by acquiring more tests through the private sector, and work with the county to increase testing capacity.
“We want to make sure that Dallas is safe," he said. "We want to make sure that these businesses that choose to open do so safely, so we will in consultation with public health experts at the state level and our local health authority at the county, make sure that what we are doing is actually furthering public safety."
Finally, Johnson encouraged Dallas residents to wear face masks.
“I think the CDC has been clear that masks are advised when you are out in public, so I would encourage everyone to follow the CDC’s guidelines."