Gov. Abbott Says Texans Will Learn More About Returns to Work, School This Week

Abbott's executive order on essential services in place until April 30; classes statewide are currently suspended through May 4.

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Texas businesses won't all reopen at the same time, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday, even as President Donald Trump itches to restore the nation's economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott, a Republican, said he would provide more details this week of how he envisions Texas getting back to both work and school, although he has set no timetable. He has issued what is effectively a stay-at-home order through the end of April, and officials in some of Texas' biggest cities say they don't expect the number of COVID-19 cases to peak until May.

"This isn't going to be a rushing the gates, everyone is able to suddenly reopen all at once," Abbott said from his office in the Texas Capitol following a news conference where he announced $50 million in private, forgivable loans being made available to Texas small businesses.

Trump asserted Monday that it will be up to him to determine how and when to reopen the coronavirus-stricken country, though it is unclear what authority he has to overrule the states. Abbott said he spoke with Trump over the weekend and that the White House understands that "what may work for Nebraska may be different than what works for New York."

Abbott also hinted at a decision coming later this week on whether Texas school will remain closed for the rest of the year. Classes statewide are currently suspended through May 4.

Bail for Texas Inmates

The Texas Supreme Court awaited arguments Monday following a weekend decision that temporarily restored Abbott's executive order restricting some inmates release on bail.

The state's highest civil court Saturday stayed a lower court's ruling temporarily blocking the order. It came a day after a Travis County district judge found Friday that Abbott likely overstepped his constitutional authority in prohibiting judges from releasing people accused or previously convicted of violent crimes on no-cost bonds.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that the decision would help to protect state residents. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which brought the suit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court has asked both parties to respond by the end of Monday.

By the Numbers

  • 13,906: Number of Texas people infected with the coronavirus;
  • 287 deaths;
  • 1,176 hospitalized;
  • 133,226 tests performed.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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