Weighing the health and safety of 29 million Texans during this deadly pandemic with the economic needs of millions (many in the service industry) who have lost their jobs obviously is not easy for the governor. Throw in the political desire to appease the scorched earth supporters of President Trump, whose overriding concern during this national emergency is his own reelection, and the task becomes almost impossible.
It also is a lot easier to second-guess the governor’s decisions than to make them, but reopening restaurants to on-premises dining and movie theaters to viewers, even at reduced capacity, is scary. About the time the governor was making his announcement on Thursday, the coronavirus count in Texas was 25,297 cases, 663 deaths and rising.
One of the best summations I have seen so far is from a restaurant owner in Dallas, who is not sure when he will reopen but is sure he won’t be reopening on Friday.
“Who doesn’t find this to be hasty,” the restaurateur told The Dallas Morning News. “We can take all the precautions in the world, but you can’t eat with a mask on. You can’t drink wine with a mask on.”
He added: “And if we’re going to be putting people into small spaces with enclosed dining rooms and air conditioning systems – it’s been shown that that’s where (the coronavirus) spreads — statistically it’s a certainty that at some point somebody is going to walk through those doors, and they’re going to have it (the coronavirus), and one of my staff is going to get sick, and then what do we do?”
Or another diner – or handful of diners – gets sick, and on and on.
Then what do we do, governor? Good question.
From my perspective, Gov. Abbott has been wrong on numerous public policies. This time, though, I really hope he is right. But I am not betting my health on it. I am not eating out.