Local officials from across Texas are calling for a return to “stay home, work safe” policies to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In parts of Texas, positive test counts set new records again this week, so several local officials, including Interim Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbot. They requested tighter restrictions on things like business occupancy and face mask mandates.
Former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is a special assistant to Biscoe and helped put together the letter.
“What’s envisioned is that we would go back to what we did before which worked,” Eckhardt told Texas Standard host David Brown. “That really helped a tremendous amount and it certainly saved lives.”
According to Eckhardt, the local officials who signed the letter would have preferred an adaptive reopening, for which the phases were based on data and the numbers of infections in the state. But it is already too late for that.
“We opened based on a political calendar, rather than on the medical science, and that’s what’s causing us to contemplate going back to a ‘stay home, work safe’,” Eckhardt said.
If parts of Texas return to tighter lockdown policies, officials anticipate a backlash from businesses that would have to reclose.
“By sticking with medical science and the data it becomes pretty apparent what is risky behavior and what is not; what are industries that are adapting and are able to adapt and which ones are not,” Eckhardt said of bar owners already pushing back on the state. “These are just facts. They’re not picking and choosing; the virus is picking and choosing.”
Eckhardt said the most important thing is fighting the virus and saving lives.
Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.