Biedermann, caucus ask Abbott to open economy

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The nine-member Freedom Caucus in the Texas Legislature, which includes Dist. 73 Rep. Kyle Biedermann of Fredericksburg, wrote a letter on Tuesday asking Gov. Greg Abbott to re-open parts of the Texas economy as the COVID-19 virus affects health and employment.

“Texas must immediately increase healthcare and business activity while maintaining protections for the most vulnerable Texans,” the letter stated. It asked Abbott to loosen the statewide executive order “to the greatest extent possible” while giving local jurisdictions the flexibility to respond to local conditions.

Members cited the potential for a lack of ordinary healthcare. Many hospitals, including Hill Country Memorial, have foregone elective surgeries while they deal with the pandemic.

Abbott has stated he would want increased testing to be a part of any revised statewide order.

On Tuesday, the Austin American-Statesman reported that Texas had 31 deaths, its highest single-day total to date, and an increase in statewide infections of 718.

Abbott is expected to give an address to the state later this week aimed at boosting the state economy, which has been devastated by the coronavirus.

“It is ultimately the individual Texan’s responsibility to keep themselves safe, and also to ensure the safety of those who cannot protect themselves,” the letter to Abbott stated. It urged a continuing strong message regarding social distancing, unnecessary contact, hand washing, wearing masks, cleaning surfaces and following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.