The Great Coronavirus Rollback: Texas, Florida, And Nine More States Abandon Reopening Plans Amid Record Coronavirus Surge
With a record 40,401 new cases of the coronavirus reported in the United States on Thursday alone—and many parts of the South and West now facing alarming spikes just weeks after beginning to reopen—these states are now hitting the pause button.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that all bars in the state must close (though they can remain open for take out and delivery) and restaurants must limit capacity—that edict comes just one day after Abbott said Texas must pause any further reopening as it grapples with record case numbers; he also issued an Executive Order suspending elective surgeries in four counties to preserve hospital bed availability for Covid-19 patients.
Florida will shut down bars in an effort to mitigate a record spike in cases across the state, according to a Friday announcement from Halsey Beshears, Secretary of the Department of Business & Professional Regulation.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards extended his state’s Phase 2 reopening Thursday for another 28 days; Louisiana was originally planning to move to Phase 3 on Friday.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced Thursday that reopening would pause because the state did not yet meet its own criteria: “we’re tapping on the brakes,” he said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that he will delay the reopening of malls, gyms and movie theaters—originally scheduled to open as early as Friday in some parts of the state—while the health department reviews more data on the indoor transmission of the virus.
North Carolina will delay entering Phase Three of reopening and continue in the “safer at home” phase for another three weeks, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly recommended this week that the state stay in Phase 3 of its reopening plan for two more weeks; Kansas was originally supposed to begin lifting Phase 3 restrictions on Monday.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced Monday that indoor bars in the state would not be allowed to reopen on July 1 as scheduled.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced last week that reopening plans would pause: “Now is not the time to abandon these protective measures,” he said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a one-week pause to the state’s reopening plans on June 11, citing concerns about rising case numbers in rural and urban areas; Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert announced a similar pause that same week.
During a hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested that states may need to reconsider their reopening plans as cases continue to rise across the country. “I wouldn’t necessarily say an absolute shutdown, lockdown, but if someone is going from gateway to Phase 1 to Phase 2 and they get into trouble in Phase 2, they may need to go back to Phase 1,” he said. Fauci cited Texas, Arizona, and Florida among those states that may need to consider these measures.
Some major retailers and attractions are also closing of their own accord absent any renewed local restrictions. Disney announced Wednesday that its Disneyland resort in Anaheim, California would not reopen on July 17 as scheduled (though Disneyworld, in Florida, is still slated to reopen next month), and Apple announced this week that it is reclosing its stores in states where Covid-19 cases are spiking (Texas, Arizona, and Florida, among others).
As outbreaks continue to worsen in several states, the Trump administration is considering pivoting to a new strategy that would test people groups, the Washington Postreports. That would allow officials to test more people with fewer resources and more quickly identify and isolate those who are infected.