Texas to begin softening COVID-19 restrictions next week

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Friday that he plans to begin reopening different Texas businesses through a series of executive orders starting next week, making Texas the first state to lay out a defined rollback of COVID-19 restrictions.

As part of his plan, Abbott also announced the creation of the Strike Force to Open Texas — a task force comprised of doctors, business leaders and lawmakers focused on creating an effective reopening strategy.

"The Strike Force to Open Texas brings together nationally recognized medical experts with public and private sector leaders to achieve this mission," Abbott said in a statement. "By coming together, we can get Texans back to work, practice safe standards that will prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we can overcome this pandemic."

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State parks in Texas will be open starting Monday, but residents will still need to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

One of the governor's executive orders that he signed on Friday allows the state's retailers to start using a temporary "Retail-To-Go" starting next Friday. While reopened, retailers will be required to deliver products to customer's cars, homes or other places to minimize contact.

Despite having a population of about 29 million people, Texas has only conducted 169,536 coronavirus tests. The state has more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus with more than 400 deaths, according to the state's health department.