No Shelter in Place Order for Texas, Gov. Abbott Says

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he is not implementing a statewide shelter-in-place order because the virus has not been found in the vast majority of the state's counties.

“I am governor of 254 counties in the state of Texas.  More than 200 of those counties in the state of Texas still have zero cases of people testing positive for COVID-19," Abbott said Sunday.

Abbott said cases of COVID-19 are increasing in places in urban settings like Dallas, Houston and Austin, but not in the state's more rural counties.

“What may be right for places like the large urban areas may not be right at this particular point in time for the more than 200 counties that have zero cases of COVID-19,” he added.

While the governor has issued an executive order saying people shouldn't gather in groups larger than 10 and that gyms, bars restaurants are closed to dine-in customers, Abbott said he'll leave it up to local municipalities to set stricter guidelines, which is what Dallas County did.

Dallas County is the first county in the state to issue a shelter at home order.

“I was very hopeful that this would be statewide,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

Despite taking local action Sunday, and more cities expected to take similar action on Tuesday, there is additional pressure from some North Texas leaders.

Eric Johnson, the mayor of Dallas, some hospital officials, and community leaders, sent the governor a letter Monday asking him to consider shelter in place to contain the spread of the virus because there are concerns hospitals could run out of beds without one. 

The governor seemed to not rule anything out.

“I will always remain flexible, and on a moment’s notice be able to take whatever strategies are needed at a statewide level to ensure that we are doing all we can to combat the expansion of COVID-19,” said Abbott.

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