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Trump, Abbott, act to reopen nation, state

Schools, UIL sports canceled; some businesses to restart
Sunday, April 19, 2020
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Thursday evening President Donald Trump unveiled new guidelines, some calling them common-sense measures meant to help states gradually loosen restrictions. His press conference targeted May 1 as the day to start the reopening of the country and he did so with direct consultation with Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, who spoke and answered questions.

Charges against Trump by the national media related to his claim of “absolute authority” in kick starting the economy must have come as a surprise when his plan for a soft-reopening had little authorotarian tone. Instead, he chose to delegate to state governors – during an afternoon conference call – that they would be calling the shots in their state. When and how each state reopens will be determined by those who govern them.

He reportedly told them they are very capable people and “you’re going to be calling your own shots.”

It was a sign of a different kind of leader, one who works with a team, even those who disagree with his politics. Some still feel it is too early to restart, but his catalytic nature as a make-things-happen businessman were evident 24-hours later in his Friday briefings.

Reviving the economy is critical. Unemployment, according to some experts, could cost the country more deaths in health crises than from Covid-19.

Jobless rate was at all-time low

Prior to the virus, America’s unemployment was at 3.5 percent, its lowest in 50 years. Unemployment among blacks and Hispanics were at all-time lows. The shutdown, according to Goldman Sachs, could rise to 15 percent by mid-summer, hence the move to ease back into business.

“We’re starting our life again,” the President said, even as it remains to be seen just how quickly normalcy returns.

His guidelines will not be mandatory. Some governors have current dates of closure ending in late April while others may have announced restrictions lasting into May. The President made it clear that he wants homebound Americans to have hope and a framework for returning to work.

He urged caution in every move, though he added that some states could open up tomorrow.

“If you look at Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, they’re a lot different than New York. It’s a lot different than New Jersey,” he said.

Gov. Abbott had a busy Friday

Austin was whirling with directives coming from Gov. Greg Abbott, who fired off a complex executive order with a purpose of triggering the state to reopen in waves. He referred to the plan as “occurring in stages.”

Starting on Monday, April 20, state parks can reopen, though face masks and six-foot social distancing will be required from people who do not live in the same home. There will be a ban on groups larger than five.

On Wednesday, April 22, current restrictions on medical procedures and surgeries will be loosened. Hospitals have the comfort of unmet capacity, he stated, before adding that the state had a large supply of protection gear for doctors. Diagnostic tests for cancer may also resume.

Retail stores

All retail stores in the state will be allowed to operate as retailto-go by Friday, April 24. That measure will operate the same way as restaurants have done with takeout service.

As for restaurants and bars

What many are anxious to learn is when Abbott will give the green-light to restaurants and bars. He did not mention when they will be able to re-open for full, in-house service.

He did, however, mention his second wave of re-openings will come in a week, Monday, April 27. It is possibly viewed as a performance date – if the coronavirus curve grades well, then those industries may resume. As is, the stay-at-home order remains in place through April 30.


To the surprise of very few, the Gov. declared all Texas schools ordered closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers will be allowed back to classrooms to clean, gather supplies or to prepare lesson plans for possible summer classes.

The Texas Education Agency has issued statements in support of the Governor’s rulings.

UIL Athletics

The University Interscholastic League also stated on Friday that all competitions, spring activities and state championships are officially canceled. Practices, rehearsals and workouts remain suspended until further notice.

Individual school districts will have information on all aspects of education and UIL activities. The Ennis News will continue coverage of ISD news and sports throughout the summer.

Ennis hires health official

Puckett, with local practice, is appointed

Mayor Angie Juenemann announced on Friday afternoon the hiring of a new city staff member in Dr. Fred Puckett. He will serve in the capacity of public health official and was appointed. The medical doctor has a local family practice at 2203 W. Lampasas St. in Ennis.

He will join Chauncy Williams, who directs Ennis Health and Inspections.