HOUSTON - Recent messages and actions by officials across Texas seem to have some people confused.
Last weekend, Harris County leaders finished construction on a multi-million-dollar temporary hospital outside NRG Stadium. Now, less than a week later, state, county, and city leaders are discussing the possibility of re-opening businesses.
“Opening Texas must occur in stages,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference. “Not all businesses can open all at once.”
“We must take a very measured approach as we move forward,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Exact details of the state’s “re-opening” remain unknown, but officials want to make sure economic moves don’t overwhelm hospitals with Coronavirus COVID-19 patients.
“If we let our guard down, it will come back,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “It will take over.”
Harris County finished construction last weekend on a makeshift hospital outside NRG stadium. The additional 250 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients haven’t been needed so far. In a press conference Friday, we asked Judge Hidalgo and Mayor Turner about the multi-million-dollar makeshift hospital construction finishing only days before discussion started regarding the re-opening of businesses. Construction alone for the additional hospital beds totaled $11 million. The Federal government is expected to reimburse Harris County up to 75 percent of that.
“Every day it’s less likely that we’ll need it,” said Hidalgo, referring to the temporary hospital. “That’s great. If folks go outside and make contacts like they’re not supposed to, we may still need it. It’s not time to say whether we overdid it or underdid it. I’m willing to take a hit if we did too much, rather than too little.”
“It’s always better to have done too much, and not need it, than to have done too little and find yourself in need,” said Mayor Turner. “I would rather people say elected officials and others went too far, rather than saying we didn’t go far enough.”
On Friday, we also met with James Mcingvale, “Mattress Mack” about the discussion towards re-opening Texas businesses. Governor Abbott appointed Mcingvale to the state’s business advisory committee.
“Opening small businesses is crucial,” said Mack. “So many people are out of work. The whole idea is to open Texas as quickly as possible but, certainly, safety comes first.”
More details of the state’s “re-opening” are expected next week.