Effective May 1, Texas beaches will be open to the public.The decision was made by the Texas General Land Office, led by George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.The reopening coincides with the expiration of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s shelter-in-place order — as well as a rise in deaths from COVID-19.On April 28, Texas reported 42 new fatalities resulting from the coronavirus — up from 26 a week before and 11 at the start of the month. Overall, at least 732 people have died from COVID-19 in the Lone Star State, which has confirmed just over 27,000 cases of the disease.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Texas will be reopening its beaches on Friday, along with restaurants and movie theaters, despite a rising death toll from COVID-19.
In a decision announced April 29, the Texas General Land Office — headed by Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — rescinded the ability of local governments to prohibit beach access, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The city of Galveston, home to some of the state’s most popular coastline, noted the decision in a press release, stating that beaches would reopen May 1, “with social distancing recommendations.” Beachgoers previously risked arrest.
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The reopening coincides with the expiration of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s shelter-in-place order, which is not being extended despite the spread of the coronavirus.
On April 28, Texas reported 42 new fatalities from COVID-19 — up from 26 a week before and 11 at the start of the month. Overall, at least 732 people have died from the coronavirus in the Lone Star State, which has confirmed just over 27,000 cases of the disease caused by the virus.
Texas’ Republican leaders have long chafed against social distancing requirements. In March, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested in an interview with Fox News that older people, who are at increased risk of dying from COVID-19, should accept the greater risk of mortality that comes with returning to business as usual.
“What I’m living in fear of is what’s happening to this country,” Patrick said. “No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren? And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”
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