Abbott pauses Texas reopening due to coronavirus outbreak

Abbott’s latest action does nothing to reverse any of the reopening phases he’s already allowed for — meaning that bars, restaurants, malls, bowling alleys and other businesses are still allowed to remain open with some capacity limitations. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses, ” he wrote in a press release on Thursday, but the “pause will help our state corral the spread.”

The latest ban on elective procedures only applies to Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties, four areas where the number of patients hospitalized with virus is quickly progressing.

Just Tuesday, Abbott stressed that hospital capacity in Texas was “abundant.” A day later, Abbott acknowledged in a TV interview that capacity issues in some parts of the state “may necessitate a localized strategy” instead of a return to statewide action.