We asked Texans about their concerns over reopening the state. Here’s what they told us.
After Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement about “reopening” the state, we asked Texans what concerns they have with his plan.
Overwhelmingly, 96% of respondents told us that not keeping people home long enough in response to COVID was a bigger threat than keeping them home too long, and many expressed that opening too soon runs the risk of our state facing a second shutdown in the near future. We also know from a recent Texas Tribune poll that a majority of Texas voters support staying home longer to keep people safe. In addition, 74% of respondents to our survey expressed concerns about workplace safety and the overall lack of testing.
On an individual level, we received heartfelt stories from people with genuine concerns about the state’s readiness to address health and safety, difficulties with childcare, losing unemployment, businesses that choose not to open and will be burdened with unemployment costs if they do not, and a lot more.
There’s a clear disconnect between the actions of our conservative lawmakers, and what everyday Texans want and need.
Here’s what Texans had to say:
“Reopening now is a gamble; if it is a bad bet, people die. It feels like conservatives seem to think the virus has just gone away - and there's no plan to deal with the reality that it hasn't.”
Kerri B. - Sumner, TX
“My sister works at a salon. She has asthma. A virus that makes it hard to breathe would hit her much harder than it would me, and her salon is already making talks about going back to business, and if she doesn’t, then she’d still have to pay the booth bill.”
Anonymous - Irving, TX
“I work for the State of Texas and think that the 4 guidelines to reopening (having enough hospital space for the sick, having enough tests, ability to trace sickness, and downward trajectory in new cases) has not been reached at this time. There are no masks available at work and I have a 3x cancer survivor 18 year old at home and I am terrified of bringing this home and making him fight for the 4th time a life threatening disease.”
Anonymous - Austin, TX
“I am 67, have diabetes, asthma, mild COPD, and a partially collapsed lung. All of this puts me at extremely high risk for COVID-19. I am doing everything possible to avoid any situations that might expose me to the virus, but I cannot stay shut in my house 100% of the time. I am concerned that, if businesses open too soon, there will be a major increase in cases of COVID-19, and a huge decrease in people taking necessary precautions. When this happens, it puts all of us at risk.”
Patricia H. - Arlington, TX
“My biggest worry about reopening is that this seems to be a decision made by politicians with an agenda as opposed to public health officials and scientists. I believe that 'reopening' Texas too soon will cause a huge spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths. This, in turn, would have an even bigger effect on our healthcare system and economy. Also, it would make the sacrifice that Texans have made in the last few weeks worthless. We should NOT rush to reopen Texas without sound advice from public health officials and scientists.”
Anil P. - Cedar Park, TX
“I’m worried about my brothers. If we reopen too soon they could get sick. They have major heart conditions and need herd immunity in order to make it. We don’t have the tools or the herd immunity for them to be safe.”
Noah B. - Midlothian
“I have risk factors and I feel that reopening too soon is going to mean more danger of getting the virus. Texas has not done near enough testing and when we do the amount of testing we need we are going to see our number of cases and number of deaths go up.”
JT - Crockett, TX
“I'm a server in Austin and they're getting ready to open up at 25% on Friday. Then go up to 50% 2 weeks later. I've been getting unemployment so I've been able to take care of myself and kids. But, I just read that Abbott is planning on signing something that will take away our unemployment if we don't go back right away. So, I'm expendable as long as people can get their enchiladas and so that Abbott can make Trump happy. My kids losing a parent means nothing to them.”
Anonymous. - Austin, TX
“I work in a gym. I have routinely witnessed improper hygiene for many, many years, and don't expect people will change their ways. People always expect someone else will clean up after them. Yes, machines/weights are cleaned, sometimes daily and sometimes weekly but NO machine is cleaned after EVERY use. I truly fear for not only my health but the health of EVERYONE who crowds into a gym.”
Kelli R. - Frisco, TX
“I live in an independent senior living facility where many are getting restless and weary… We are like lighting a match in a dry forest and my concern is that people will start going out and expose themselves and others without really knowing how dangerous it is right now to be out. I cringe to think of the churches opening.”
Jane M. - Houston, TX
Do you have a story to share about the state ‘reopening’? Let us know your thoughts and concerns in our survey.