Texas Governor Greg Abbott says the coronavirus is spreading at an unacceptable rate and he is asking Texans to wear a mask.
"Some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient or it is like an infringement of freedom, but I also know that wearing a mask will help us keep Texas open," said Abbott. "Not taking action to slow the spread will cause COVID to spread even worse risking peoples lives and ultimately leading to the closure of more businesses."
At an afternoon press conference, the governor said hospitals continue to have abundant capacity to treat patients with the coronavirus. But if people follow the state's safety protocols, it will help to reduce the spread. In the past few days, the state has averaged more than 35-hundred new cases a day and the positivity rate has gone to more than nine-percent now.
Abbott says if people do not wear masks, and the virus continues to spread, they will consider more restrictions. "Closing down Texas again will always be the last option," said Abbott.
"COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in the state of Texas, and it must be corralled," said Governor Abbott. "We have several strategies to reduce the spread without shutting Texas back down, but it is up to all of us to do our part to protect ourselves and others. We need all Texans to follow the safety protocols developed by our team of medical experts, including staying home if you are sick or at risk, sanitizing your hands, social distancing, and wearing face coverings or masks. COVID-19 hasn't gone away, but neither has our ability to slow the spread of it. Texans have shown that we don't have to choose between jobs and health—we can have both. We can protect lives while also restoring livelihoods. Together, we will keep Texans safe and we will keep our state open for business."