Governor Abbott signals second shutdown possible if masks aren't worn

Texas Governor Greg Abbott restated his opposition to shutting down the state again despite the recent surge in cases of COVID-19 but he left open the option. Governor Abbott made the warning about the possible need for drastic steps during a ceremony held with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“There is no need for a lockdown if everyone will adopt this best practice,” said Gov. Abbott.

Meanwhile, small businesses continue to struggle during the viral outbreak with some owners unsure if they’ll be able to survive. What the governor served up was welcome news for Matthew Sullivan, the owner of House Park BBQ.

RELATED: List of Austin businesses lost during COVID-19 pandemic is growing

“It makes us smile, we are very proud of Gov Abbott for letting us try to fight and hang in there. Because I’m afraid if we close our doors we will be unable to reopen,” said Sullivan.

The iconic Austin eatery is trying to avoid the fate of other long time favorites that have recently closed down. However, staying open does have a price: a mask.

For those who refuse to comply with the governor's order to wear one in public gatherings and in buildings, he had a thinly veiled warning. “A lockdown is the last thing that we need in the state of Texas if everyone will adopt the best practice of wearing a face mask,” said Gov. Abbott. 

RELATED: $41 million in federal funds going to Texas cities for COVID-19 response

Complying with the mask order is part of the new business model at the “no comply” skate shop. The irony of the store’s name, at a time when there is a fight over wearing a mask, is not lost on owner Elias Bingham.

“We are all about our community and making everyone is safe, so it’s all, no comply can be a statement, but it’s also it means think for yourself, and when you’re thinking for yourself, and you take care of yourself and your community, you need to comply with the safety right now,” said Bingham.

The governor also announced another ramp-up of testing. He said test kits are being distributed to nursing homes across the state. With the kits, nursing Home staff can conduct their own on-site testing and that, according to the governor, will reduce the load in private labs.

The governor says he believes the best way to contain the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Texas is for people to wear masks while in public places.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott issues executive order requiring face masks in counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases


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"That is exactly why I go on TV every single day and exactly why I'm emphasizing this point with you and that is a lockdown is the last thing that we need in the state of Texas if everyone will adopt the best practice of wearing a facemask," Abbott said.

The governor's comments were made after he signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agreement is an effort to promote forest conservation programs in the Lone Star State.



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