Phase I Announced 

Governor Abbott Announces Phased Re-Opening

[27 April 2020 - AUSTIN, TX]
(c) 2020 COPYRIGHT, C.G. Willis, Publisher,

Texas Governor Abbott stated in a 2:30 p.m. press meeting that  he will allow his executive order recommending “Stay at Home / Safer at Home” to naturally expire at midnight Thursday night, April 30, 2020.

“There’s a reason not all Texas business can open all at once.”  Abbott cautiously stated, referring to second waves now beginning of the COVID19 in some foreign countries.  “A more strategic approach is needed,”  Abbott stated, in moving forward, re-opening must be in alignment and agreement with CDC guidance.

Phase 1 begins this Friday, May 1.  Then “Two weeks of data to confirm no flare up of CV19.” To move into Phase II, of opening more business types and increasing occupancy caps.

If we continue safe distance practices, we can expand to even open up our economy even more.

"First and foremost, Phase I needs to consider the most vulnerable of our Texas population, the age 65 represent just over 20% of those who tested positive, and 75% of the deaths.  If we double our efforts to protect our most vulnerable citizens, while opening businesses, we can achieve these goals.   These vulnerable population should continue to remain at home if at all possible.  Especially in nursing homes, and assisted living centers, and better infectious disease protocols at these places." Abbott stated. (paraphrased in part)

Next, is a list of the business that can open safely on May 1.  The ultimate decision and type is driven by the doctors advising on safe medical practices, and health guidelines for businesses, employees and customers.

Guideline are prescribed in this IMPORTANT book is at:  [CLICK HERE]


All restaurants, movie theaters and malls can open May. 1, yet with **** Limited occupancy to 25% ****  Phase 2 expands it to 50% occupancy in two weeks so long as COVID19 remains contained.  It allows them to re-open, but does not require them to do so.

Libraries and museums are permitted under the same rules, except for Interactive areas with hands on exhibits must remain closed.

Sole proprietors can safely return to work now.  The booklet describe guidance for safe practices.

Churches were always open under guidelines safe distancing practices, and can continue to do so and open their doors.  Again, CHECK THE BOOKLET.

Outdoor sports may have up to 4 participants playing together at any one time, like golf, tennis.  At Phase 2, expanding more activities to be engaged in.

Doctors, nurses, dentists, patients, all license healthcare workers may return to work right away, using the booklets guidelines. The exception is that Hospitals must still reserve 15% of capacity for CV19 patients.

Counties with 5 or fewer diagnosed CV19 cases, all businesses can immediately increase their capacity to 50% right away in Phase I.  A county could revert back to a more limited capacity if cases increase.

“The key to this component, is the hospitalization rate increasing, death rate or hot spots.  There’s no single one factor we look at.  Through the data, we’ll decide if we will be able to go into Phase II.” (paraphrased) Governor Abbott.

“Barbershops, hair salons, bars, gyms; we are hopeful they will be able to open at mid-May."  Abbott continued, “We want them to open ASAP.  Here’s a factor that was looked at:  We do have strategies to keep customers from aggregating. However, they (hair salons) remain very physically close to each other.  The goal is to find safe ways to work in close contact with customers without spreading the COVID19.  We are working on solutions. I can absolutely understand their frustrations. No doubt. Today’s announcement is just a beginning for businesses to open,” Abbott stated. (paraphrased in part)

“Access to childcare is needed for essential workers.  We know this is an important issue to working families to get back to work.”   The governor is also "working on a plan as soon as possible for summer camps."

One media rep asked, “What is the enforcement, and accountability?”

Governor Abbott stated, “For all XO (Executive Orders), there’s several levels of enforcement.  It can be up to a $1000, and/or 180 days in jail.  Enforcement is either at the Local level or regulatory level.”

A media represented asked about the the great disconnect with some county judges, as in Harris County, ordering the wearing of masks and fines and penalties  “As laid out in this booklet, we recommend that people wear a mask.” Abbott replied,  however,  “No jurisdiction can impose a penalty or fine, and my executive order supersedes any local order.”  Abbott stated adamantly.  He said that wearing masks are RECOMMENDED.

“We are Texans.  We got this.”  Governor Abbott concluded. “The goal is the Safety of the public, and control the spread of the CV19.”  Abbott.  “You have a right to stay at home if you wish and not get out and expose yourself, then just continue to stay home.”

Check link here for more information. HTTP://GOV.TEXAS.GOV.

Governor Abbott and Texas Attorney  General Paxton Clarifies

Essential Services to Include Church Group Gatherings

[23 April 2020 AUSTIN,TX]

Texas reports a summary of Governor Abbott's and Attorney General Paxton's announcements from Wednesday, April 23, 2020. The KEY ITEM is CHURCHES may being in person services with the following guidance. "LOCAL GOVERNMENTS MAY NOT ORDER HOUSES OF WORSHIP TO CLOSE."

"Updated Guidance From Texas AG Opens Door For Church Services"

Source:  Texas

On Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton provided updated guidance to churches, softening previous language and opening the door for churches to start to conduct in-person services. We are pleased that Texas is giving the green light for in-person religious services to resume, as are many pastors from across the state that were on a faith leader conference call that we hosted this week. The updated guidance respects religious freedom and provides responsible recommendations for houses of worship to continue ministering while doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Recommendations to houses of worship include:

Encouraging attendees who are 65 years old and above to stay home and watch services online, or provide a “senior service” exclusively for attendees 65 and above to attend in person.

  • Asking all attendees who have underlying at-risk health conditions to stay home and watch services online.
  • Equipping ushers and greeters with protective equipment such as gloves as masks.
  • Keeping child care closed unless churches can comply with CDC guidelines for child care facilities.
  • Encouraging all attendees to sanitize their hands and put on masks before entering the building.
  • Ensuring attendees to sit with their family unit and use social distancing between each unit, even, if necessary, adding more services times to facilitate social distancing.
  • Having clergy dismiss attendees by family unit, maintaining social distancing.
  • Having staff sanitize seats and frequently touched surfaces between services.
  • Considering refraining from passing collection plates and instead provide a central collection box in the building or encouraging online giving.
  • Considering how the sacraments can be administered without attendees having to touch the same surfaces and objections.

About Texas Values
Texas Values is the largest statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at

The source of the email is here:​

Read the full updated guidance from the Texas Governor and Attorney General here.

C.G. Willis, Publisher, writer
Verified Factual News Redistribution
and original stories you can trust.


April 21, 2020
Guidance for Houses of Worship During the COVID-19 Crisis During these challenging times, government and faith communities throughout Texas need to work together to love our neighbors and slow the spread of Coronavirus. To facilitate this collaboration, State and local governments must clearly articulate their directives aimed at mitigating spread of the virus.

This updated joint guidance from the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Governor is the official guidance regarding the effect of Executive Order GA 16 on religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. The government must give special consideration to houses of worship when issuing orders related to the COVID-19 crisis.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I of the Texas Constitution protect the right of Texans to worship and freely exercise their religion according to the dictates of their own consciences. In addition, the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) provides additional protections to faith communities, and government must ensure that it complies with RFRA when it acts, even during a disaster.

Thus, when state or local governments issue orders prohibiting people from providing or obtaining certain services, they must ensure that these orders do not violate these constitutional and statutory rights. Houses of worship provide “essential services.”

By executive order, Governor Abbott has defined essential services to include “religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship.”1 Institutions providing these essential services can provide them under certain conditions described in Executive Order GA 16 and local orders by counties or municipalities that are consistent with GA 16.

To the extent there is conflict between the Governor’s Executive Order GA 16 and local orders, GA 16 controls. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS MAY NOT ORDER HOUSES OF WORSHIP TO CLOSE. Houses of worship should conduct as many activities as possible remotely, and should follow federal guidelines when providing services in person.

Houses of worship should conduct as many of their activities as possible remotely. Services that houses of worship cannot conduct remotely should be conducted in accordance with guidance from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”).2

For example: 1 Exec. Order No. GA 16 at 3 (Apr. 17, 2020); see also Exec. Order No. GA 14 at 2 (Mar. 31, 2020) (superseded by GA 16). 2 Ctr. for Disease Control, Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Apr. 9, 2020), 2 April 21, 2020 • Instruct sick employees, volunteers, and guests to stay home; • Practice social distancing by maintaining appropriate distance between people; • Maintain good hygiene by washing your hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, using your elbow to cover coughs, and not touching your face; • Implement environmental cleanliness and sanitization practices; and • Clean and disinfect work areas frequently.

Houses of worship, like providers of other essential services, are to follow additional guidance from the White House and CDC whenever possible. 3 Houses of worship should help slow the spread of the virus. Texas is a big state and the transmission rate of COVID-19 varies in different communities.

Texans also have big hearts and should love their neighbors by evaluating the rate of local community spread to determine the appropriate level of mitigation strategies to implement.4 Houses of worship play an important role in this effort, and can use their creativity to help slow the spread of the virus.

For example, a church could hold “drive-in” style services. Or because Executive Order GA 16 permits drive-thrus to provide goods and services, a house of worship may, according to their faith practices, provide communion or a blessing through a similar drive-up service.

When conducting services, houses of worship may consider implementing the following practices:
• Encourage all attendees who are 65 and above to stay home and watch the services online, or provide a “senior service” exclusively for attendees 65 and above to attend in person.

• Ask all attendees who have an underlying at-risk health condition to stay home and watch the services online. • Equip ushers and greeters with gloves and masks.

• Consider keeping child care closed, unless the house of worship can comply with CDC guidelines for child care facilities.5 community/guidance-business-response.html; Tex. Dep’t of State Health Servs., Prevention of COVID19 (Apr. 17. 2020),; T

he President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spread (Mar. 31, 2020), 3 CDC: Texas DSHS: 4 CDC, People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness (Apr. 15, 2020),; see also CDC, Interim Guidance for Administrators and Leaders of Community- and Faith-Based Organizations to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Mar. 23, 2020), 5 CDC, Guidance for Childcare Programs that Remain Open (Apr. 12, 2020), https://

3 April 21, 2020

• Ensure all attendees sanitize their hands and put on a mask before entering the building.

• Ensure attendees sit with their family unit, use social distancing between each unit, and, if necessary, add more service times to facilitate distancing.

• Clergy should dismiss attendees by family unit, maintaining social distancing.

• Staff should sanitize seats and frequently touched surfaces between services.

• Consider refraining from passing collection plates and instead provide a central collection box in the building or encourage online giving.

• Consider how the sacraments can be administered without attendees having to touch the same surfaces and objects.

These guidelines do not violate the religious liberty of houses of worship. Under the extraordinary circumstances in which we temporarily live, these guidelines provide that houses of worship may remain open.

The guidelines make only recommendations to houses of worship. They do not violate the religious liberty of houses of worship because the government has a compelling interest in recommending this guidance (stopping contagion) and the guidance is the least restrictive means of serving that compelling interest (allowing houses of worship to stay open for ministry, but suggesting ways that help slow the spread of COVID-19).



Texas Governor Greg Abbot press broadcast today,  April 17, 2020 outline topics for moving forward

in fighting “this invisible enemy” of the COVID-19.

In the first part of the press briefing, Governor Abbott  
updated the numbers of cases, unemployment, and

other data. Then Abbott stated that “we are starting to see glimmers that the worse of the covid-19 may be starting to be behind us.”

Abbott stated that Texas is at the “2nd most in recoveries of all states.”  He continued, “we need to maintain standards to begin the process of reopening business in Texas.”

“Today I’m issuing an Executive Order [XO].” In re-opening the Texas economy, “guided by data and doctors.” Without spurring the spread of the coronavirus. “I have formed a statewide strike force to reopen Texas” comprised of top leaders of elected state officials, “joined by a team of nationally recognized medical advisors.”  This team will work together to develop a medical architecture to “keep tackling covid19 while we wait for the immunizations that will end the threat of COVID19.” Entrepreneurs will also be advisors to this team to restart and kick start the Texas economy “while striving to keeping our communities safe.”

“Next steps for Texas” working around the clock and in the process of making recommendations.  Governor Abbott stated he issuing three executive oreders today to begin the process of re-opening Texas.  “It must occur in stages.”  Abbott added, “So it does not set us back instead of moving us forward.”

Additional notes taken during the press briefing include the following.

April 27, additional openings will be announced. In May, even more openings will be announced.
The first XO establishes the Governor’s Task Force for Re-Opening Texas.

“The next XO focuses on doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical staff.  Many have been-side lined in not be able to perform non-elective procedures.  Today, we have a solid supply chain of PPE.  Many doctors have the need to treat these patients.    Supplies must be maintained to meet COVID patients needs.  April 22, current constrains on surgeries will be loosened.”  [paraphrased]

“While loosening standards for doctors, we are tightening in nursing homes and living centers.  Infection control policies and minimize movement between facilities.”

"My next XO involves the retailers in our state.   April 24 we will allow “retail to go.  This temporary plan should allow people to access retailers while minimizing contact between customers.” For Details, go to

“Texas State Parks will be reopening this coming Monday, April 20, and visitors must wear face masks, remain at least six feet apart if not members of the same household, and not gather in groups larger than five.” Abbott stated.

Today’s XO also addresses schools. “ We have found it Unsafe to allow students to closed remainder of the 2020 (this semester) school year, and therefore  All public private and higher education school are closed.  Teachers will be allowed in the classroom for video instructions if they choose, or administrative duties or to clear out their classrooms.  TEA public education commissioner will supply more details for public schools.  Higher Education commissioner will provide instructions on how to conclude this semester and how to operate this summer.”

"Monday, April 27, additional ways to open Texas will be announced.  Over 10 days we will talk about phased in ways to reopen." Abbott concluded.     Portions paraphrased from Governor Abbot press meeting.

C.G. Willis, Editor, Trails Country Reporter


Governor Abbott's Strike Force to Open Texas

The following text is word-for-word (verbatim) from the Governor's website on Friday, 4/17/2020.

​Under the direction of Governor Abbott, with the advice of the Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, Attorney General, and Texas Comptroller: The Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas will safely and strategically restart and revitalize all aspects of the Lone Star State—work, school, entertainment, and culture.

James Huffines, Chair
Former President and Chief Operating Officer of Plains Capital Corporation, retired Chief Operating Officer of Hilltop Holdings, Inc., former Chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, and current Chair of Southwestern Medical Foundation. Huffines has served three governors of Texas: Governor Greg Abbott, Governor Rick Perry, and Governor Bill Clements. He is a former Chair of the Governor’s University Research Initiative, and a former member of the Dallas Foundation Board of Governors, the Texas State History Museum Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Dallas Citizens Council Board of Directors. Huffines earned a BBA in finance from UT Austin and attended Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.

Mike Toomey, Chief Operating Officer
Mike Toomey, the only person in Texas history to serve as Chief of Staff for two Texas governors, Governor Rick Perry and Governor Bill Clements, is a former three-term Texas House member representing House District 135 in Houston, and former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He previously served as Chairman of the Board – West Houston Chamber of Commerce. Toomey earned a BA in philosophy from Baylor University and a Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law.

Special Advisory Council

Business leaders representing the state’s regions and industries will provide advice and counsel.

Arcilia Acosta
President & CEO, CARCON Industries & Construction, a full-services construction firm with offices throughout Texas with an emphasis in transportation and aviation; founder & CEO of Southwestern Testing Laboratories (STL Engineers), a geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing firm.

Paul Andrews, Jr.
Founder & CEO, TTI Inc., leading authorized, specialty distributor of interconnect, passive, and electromechanical (IP&E) components, and the distributor of choice for industrial and consumer electronics manufacturers worldwide; over 100 locations in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Mark Bivins
Rancher, partner in Corsino Cattle Company; board member of Harrington Fellows Program at the University of Texas; former Commissioner of Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Vice Chairman of TP&W Foundation; past chairman of U.T. McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors.

Kathy Britton
CEO and Owner, Perry Homes, a Texas homebuilder for over 50 years committed to providing exceptional quality, value, and customer service; created Perry Homes Foundation to support local charities; named one of Houston’s 50 Women of Influence.

Brad Brookshire
Chairman & CEO, Brookshire Grocery Co., family-owned grocery business in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas; operates more than 180 stores under Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, FRESH by Brookshire’s, and Spring Market banners; named among Forbes Best-in-State employers in Texas.  

J. Bruce Bugg, Jr.
Chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission; Chairman, President & CEO of Southwest Bancshares, Inc.; previously Chairman and President of the Texas Economic Development Corporation, and senior advisor to Governor Rick Perry.

Alonzo Cantu
President & CEO of Cantu Construction; serves on University of Houston System Board of Regents; Chairman of the Board, Lone Star National Bank; member, Board of Managers and chairs Finance and Management Committees at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System; majority owner of Vipers Basketball, LLC, and Lone Star FC, LLC.

Bobby Cox
Owner and operator of Bobby Cox Companies, Inc., including Rosas Café & Tortilla Factory, Taco Villa, and Texas Burger; an entrepreneur and independent businessman with investments in real estate, an advertising agency, an aircraft company, cattle ranching, and quarter horses.

Adriana Cruz
Executive Director, Economic Development & Tourism Division, Office of the Governor; previously President of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, and Vice President of Global Corporate Recruitment for the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Dell
Chairman & CEO of Dell Technologies; an innovator and technology leader providing the essential infrastructure for organizations to build their digital future, transform IT, and protect their most important information. In 1999, he and his wife established the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to accelerate opportunity for children growing up in urban poverty. Michael is active with the World Economic Forum, the International Business Council, and is a member of the Technology CEO Council and the Business Roundtable.

Scott Dueser
Chairman, President & CEO, First Financial Bank; rising from management trainee in 1976; on boards of Texas Tech Alumni Association, American Bankers Association Foundation, and Texas Tech University Free Market Institute; Chairman of United Way of Abilene Foundation board.

Don Evans
Chairman of the President George W. Bush Foundation, Chairman of Permian Strategic Partnership, and 34th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce; previously served as Chairman of Energy Future Holdings and Chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents.

Tilman Fertitta
Chairman & CEO and sole owner of Landry’s, Inc, the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casinos, the NBA Houston Rockets; and New York Times best-selling author. Recognized as a world leader in the dining, hospitality, entertainment, gaming industries with 600 restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, and aquariums worldwide. Also serves as Chairman of the Board – University of Houston Board of Regents, and Houston Police Foundation.

Richard Fisher
Senior Advisor, Barclays, and Former President & CEO of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; previously Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Vice-chair of Kissinger McLarty Associates, Managing Partner of Fisher Capital Management, Senior Manager of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., and served as Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury under President Carter.

Rick Francis
Chairman of the Board of WestStar Bank Holding Company, Inc., and Chairman & CEO of WestStar Bank; former Chairman Texas Tech University System Board of Regents.

Printice Gary
Founding Partner/Principal & CEO, Carleton Companies, the leading minority-owned general contractor and developer of market-rate and affordable housing across the state of Texas. Mr. Gary is a seasoned investment professional with over 40 years combined career experience in real estate finance, construction, homebuilding, mortgage banking, and investment banking.

Brad Heffington
Owner of Heffington Farms, Inc. and Triple T Irrigation, Inc., agriculture production and irrigation companies specializing in producing Texas cotton; serves as Vice President of High Plains Underground Water Conservation District; past President of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.

Jeffery D. Hildebrand
Executive Chairman and Founder of Hilcorp Energy Company; serves on boards of Central Houston, Inc., Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Cesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, and Houston Police Foundation. Chairman of The University of Texas Investment Management Company, and recently appointed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Nancy Kinder
President & CEO, Kinder Foundation, which focuses on transformational gifts for education, urban green space, and quality of life. The Foundation has been a leading participant in the creation of Discovery Green, Buffalo Bayou Park, and Bayou Greenways 2020. Kinder is integrally involved with the evolution of Memorial Park; President of the Advisory Board of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research; and an active participant on the board of the Greater Houston Partnership.

Tom Luce
Founder & Chairman of Texas 2036; founded and led numerous nonprofits, including Just for the Kids, the National Math and Science Initiative, and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute; career distinguished by appointments to major state and national positions.

Marc McDougal
CEO McDougal Companies; managing realty and construction divisions since their inception; past President of the Lubbock Apartment Association; served on boards of the  Texas Apartment Association and West Texas Home Builders Association; Mayor of Lubbock from 2002 – 2006.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale
Owner, Gallery Furniture; retailing innovator, philanthropist; a tireless powerhouse usually found standing at the front desk of the original store on North Freeway, greeting every customer and overseeing sales activities; life’s motto: "Grateful for everything, Entitled to nothing."

Drayton McLane
Chairman, McLane Group; Chair, Texas Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors; dynamic business leader, philanthropist, third-generation grocery wholesaler; success based on commitment to quality, customer service, and uncompromising honesty and integrity.

Elaine Mendoza
Founder, President & CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc.

Balous Miller
Owner of Bill Miller BBQ Restaurants

Carla Moran
Ramar Communications based in Lubbock; President-Elect of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum Foundation; founding member of Lubbock Entertainment Performing Arts Association.

Dennis Nixon
CEO & Chairman of International Bank of Commerce. As CEO of IBC Bank since 1975 and as an inductee into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, Nixon is a leading authority on banking, commerce, and trade. As a member of the Texas Business Leadership Council and the U.S./Mexico CEO Dialogue, Nixon played an integral role in the development and passage of the USMCA trade agreement.

David Oliveira
Partner at Roerig, Oliveira & Fisher law firm, where he has practiced for over 30 years; gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Commission on Judicial Selection; member of the University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee.

Ross Perot, Jr.
Chairman of The Perot Group, which manages the family interests including real estate, oil and gas, and financial investments; Chairman of Hillwood, a Texas-based, leading global real estate development company he founded in 1988; and a Perot Systems Corporation founder

Kevin D. Roberts, Ph.D.
Executive Director Texas Public Policy Foundation; former college president; founder and headmaster of K-12 school; education policy expert and national leader on pro-growth policies.

Robert B. Rowling
Owner and chairman of TRT Holdings, Inc., investments include Omni Hotels & Resorts and Gold’s Gym, Inc.; serves on board of the Southwestern Medical Foundation; previously served on the national board of Young Life and The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

Kendra Scott
Founder and CEO of Kendra Scott; a talented designer, passionate philanthropist, and driven entrepreneur, Kendra started her company in Austin in 2002, and has grown the company into a national powerhouse with 108 stores nationwide – 21 in Texas alone.

Robert F. Smith
Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Austin-based global investment firm with equity commitments of over $57 billion and a private equity portfolio of more 60 enterprise software, data, and technology companies employing over 70,000 employees worldwide; 2019 inductee into the Texas Business Hall of Fame; named as one of Forbes’ 100 Greatest Living Business Minds; first African-American to sign the Giving Pledge.

Sam L. Susser
Chairman of BancAffiliated, Inc., of Corpus Christi Athletic Club, of UT Development Board, and of the Governor’s University Research Initiative; board member, National Retail Properties; previously grew Susser Holdings Corporation to a $6.7 billion publicly traded Fortune 50

Massey Villarreal
CEO & President of Precision Task Group, Inc., a Hispanic-owned and managed technical systems integration firm providing business solutions to public and private sector firms; named one of the most influential Hispanics in the U.S.; serves on board of the Greater Houston Partnership.

Kirk Watson
Named founding Dean of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs; State Senator representing Austin, elected President Pro Tempore in 2019; previously Mayor of Austin, and served under Governor Ann Richards.

Marc Watts
President, The Friedkin Group, with business interests including Gulf States Toyota, Inc., a wholesale distributor of Toyota vehicles and products, and various private investments; previously Vice Chairman and Managing Partner-Houston of the law firm of Locke Lord LLP.

Graham Weston
Former Chairman of Rackspace Hosting Inc.; helped found Geekdom and The 80/20 Foundation; passionate about entrepreneurship, specifically how cities can build and maintain fertile environments for young entrepreneurs to learn skills to create next innovation wave.

Sanjiv Yajnik
President of the Financial Services Division at Capital One; Member of the Capital One Executive Committee; Chairman of the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA); Chairman of the Dallas Symphony Association; Treasurer and Board Member of the National Academy Foundation (NAF); Board Member of CBRE; Previous Chairman of the Texas Economic Development Corporation.

Strike Force

Working Groups -Economic Revitalization
Working together to reboot our resilient Texas economy and lift communities and families across the state.

Workforce, Economic Development and International Trade

  • Infrastructure
  • Energy
  • Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

Workforce, Economic Development and International Trade
Working Group Leaders

Robert Allen
President & CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corporation; previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Greg Abbott and Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of the Attorney General.

Adriana Cruz
Executive Director, Economic Development & Tourism Division, Office of the Governor; previously President of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, and Vice President of Global Corporate Recruitment for the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Ruth Hughs
Texas Secretary of State; previously Chair and Commissioner Representing Employers at the Texas Workforce Commission, and Director of Defense Litigation in the Office of the Texas Attorney General.

Working Group Leaders

J. Bruce Bugg, Jr.
Chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission; Chairman, President & CEO of Southwest Bancshares, Inc.; previously Chairman and President of the Texas Economic Development Corporation, and senior advisor to Governor Rick Perry.

Kirk Watson
Named founding Dean of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs; State Senator representing Austin, elected President Pro Tempore in 2019; previously Mayor of Austin, and served under Governor Ann Richards.


Working Group Leaders

Julia Rathgeber
President & CEO of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas, Inc.; previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Greg Abbott; appointed as Commissioner of Insurance for Texas by Governor Rick Perry.

Todd Staples
President of the Texas Oil and Gas Association; previously served as the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, and as a member of both the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives.

Arts, Culture, and Entertainment
Working Group Leader
Brendon Anthony
Director of the Texas Music Office in the Office of Governor; previously a touring and recording musician, producer, artist consultant, head of ecommerce and artists relations.  

Health Care
Working together to protect Texans’ health and save lives in communities across Texas.

  • Chief Medical Advisors
  • Health Care Systems
  • Emergency Management and Supply Chain

Chief Medical Advisors

John Hellerstedt, M.D.
Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services; previously Chief Medical Officer at Seton Family of Hospitals, and Vice President of Medical Affairs and Associate Chief Medical Officer at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.

Parker Hudson, M.D., MPH
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Dell Medical School and program director for the Internal Medicine Residency; completed an adult infectious diseases fellowship and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology.

Mark McClellan, M.D., PhD
The Robert J. Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine, and Policy, and founding Director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University; former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

John Zerwas, M.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, University of Texas System; previously represented Texas House District 28 for seven legislative terms; a past president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Health Care Systems
Working Group Leader
John Zerwas, M.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, University of Texas System; previously represented Texas House District 28 for seven legislative terms; a past president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Emergency Management and Supply Chain
Working Group Leader
Nim Kidd
Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and Vice Chancellor for Disaster and Emergency Services, Texas A&M University System; previously District Fire Chief, San Antonio Fire Department, and City of San Antonio Emergency Manager.


Working together to ensure Texas students have access to the knowledge and skills need to compete and to build a brighter Texas of tomorrow.

PreK-12 Schools
Higher Education
PreK-12 Education
Working Group Leader

Mike Morath
Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, oversees PreK-12 education for more than 5 million students; previously a member of the Dallas Independent School District's Board of Trustees; began his career in the technology sector.

Higher Education
Working Group Leader
Harrison Keller, PhD
Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; previously Deputy to the President for Strategy and Policy at The University of Texas at Austin, and Vice Provost for Higher Education Policy and Research.

Fiscal Accountability and Federal Liaison

Working together to leverage federal resources and ensure fiscal accountability to protect lives and restore livelihoods in communities across Texas.

Working Group Leader
Billy Hamilton
Deputy Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, The Texas A&M University System; previously a private state tax consultant, and served as Deputy Comptroller of Public Accounts for the State of Texas.


Governor Abbott Announces Phase Two To Open Texas

May 18, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

(Verbatim from Press Release)

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the second phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase II, restaurants may increase their occupancy to 50% and additional services and activities that remained closed under Phase I may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Additionally, the Governor announced that public schools in Texas have the option to provide in-person summer school so long as they follow social distancing practices and health protocols laid out by DSHS. These classes may begin as soon as June 1st.

"Today, tomorrow, and every day going forward is one step closer to medical discoveries that can treat and protect people from COVID-19—but until that day comes, our focus is keeping Texans safe while restoring their ability to get back to work, open their businesses, pay their bills, and put food on their tables," said Governor Abbott. "By continuing to use safe practices, we are slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our most vulnerable. Now more than ever, we need to work together as one Texas. I ask all Texans to continue heeding the guidance of our state and federal medical experts and do their part to protect public health. If we all unite in our resolve, we will overcome this challenge."

Via Executive Order, the following services and activities may open under Phase II.

  • Child Care Centers (May 18)
  • Massage and Personal-Care Centers (May 18)
  • Youth Clubs (May 18)
  • Rodeo and Equestrian Events (May 22)
  • Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, and Skating Rinks (May 22)
  • Bars (May 22)
  • Aquariums and Natural Caverns (May 22)
  • Zoos (May 29)
  • Day Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Overnight Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Youth Sports (May 31)
  • Certain professional sports without in-person spectators (May 31)

All sporting and camp activities are required to adhere by special safety standards, and minimum standard health protocols have been established for all newly-announced opened services and activities. Businesses located in office buildings may also open but must limit their occupancy to the greater of 10 employees or 25% of their workforce.

Additionally, restaurants may expand their occupancy to 50% beginning May 22. Bars—including wine tasting rooms, craft breweries, and similar businesses—may open at 25% occupancy but like restaurants, these occupancy limits do not apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distancing among parties.

Opened services and activities under Phase II are subject to certain occupancy limits and health and safety protocols. For details and a full list of guidelines, openings, and relevant dates, visit

Certain counties experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases will have their beginning date of Phase II delayed until May 29. These counties include El Paso, Randall, Potter, Moore, and Deaf Smith. Surge Response Teams are actively working in these areas to increase testing, maintain hospital capacity, and ensure that COVID-19 is contained and mitigated.

During his remarks, the Governor also presented information on the state's hospitalization and positivity rates—two metrics the Governor and his team of medical experts have used to inform the state's ongoing plan to safely and strategically open. Details on these metrics can be found in presentation slides, Hospitalizations Chart and Positivity Rate Chart.

Sources, With Links.

Press Release:

Open Texas

LIST and Copies Executive Orders [XO] and Press Releases

by Texas Governor G. Abbott

[28 April 2020]  In Chronological Order, Most Recent Last

(c) 2020 COPYRIGHT, C.G. Willis, Publisher, Editor,

Texas Governor Abbott has made the following Executive Orders related to the COVID-19.  Some orders are expired, continued, or new.

May 18, 2020:  Phase II Open Texas Announced by Governor Abbott

XO 23 Phase 2 Expanded ReOpening Texas May 18, 2020

XO 18 Phase in of Reopening Texas


XO 19 Hospital Capacity

XO17  Strike Force
Executive Order GA-17, effective immediately, creates a Strike Force tasked with advising Gov. Abbott on ways to "Open Texas" in a safe and strategic way.

X0 16  RETAIL “Open Texas”
Executive Order GA-16, effective immediately until April 30, 2020, allows certain retail to reopen for "pickup or delivery" beginning on April 24, with customers not to be allowed inside the premises.

XO 15 Hospitals
Executive Order GA-15, effective at 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2020, until 11:59 p.m. on May 8, allows healthcare facilities to conduct certain medical procedures only after complying with strict requirements.

XO 14  Essential Services

XO 13 Jail & Bail

XO 12   Roadway Screening

X0 11  Self-Quarantining & Airport Screening
Executive Order No. GA-il relating to airport screening and self-quarantine during the COVID-19 disaster.

X0 10  Daily Reporting
Executive Order No. GA-b relating to daily reporting during the COVID-19 disaster.

XO 9 Hospital Capacity
Executive Order No. GA-09 relating to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 disaster.

X0 8 COVID19 Prepare & Mitigate
Executive Order No. GA-08 relating to COVID- 19 preparedness and mitigation

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