Month 4 of the pandemic here in Abilene and month 6 of the year. Anyone else ready for 2020 to be over? What a challenging year we’ve had so far! What’s next, an alien invasion? (maybe that’s what it would take to unite us again)
As we here in Abilene continue to work through navigating the pandemic, we are starting to hear some consistent questions from many of our families. We’ll try to address those here. We hope that everyone is staying safe out there and doing the best you can to enjoy your summer! This post is a bit long so get comfortable. Here goes:
Reopening Timeline in Texas:
- April 20 – State parks reopened for groups limited to 5 people. Maintain social distancing
- April 21 – Hospitals can begin to allow elective procedures on a limited basis
- April 24 – Retailers allowed to offer “to go” options for customers
- May 8 – Cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, and nail salons opened, maintaining social distancing
- May 18 – Office buildings reopened with 25% of workforce. Gyms, exercise facilities, and exercise classes reopened. And non-essential manufacturing services reopened. All must limit occupancy to 25%. Case counts texas, US and locally
- May 22 – Restaurants previously opened at 25% capacity were allowed to increase to 50% capacity.
- June 3 – Businesses allowed to open to 25-50% capacity
- June 12 – Restaurants allowed to open to 75% capacity
- June 25 – Governor Abbott hits “pause” on any further reopening of the Texas economy due to surge in cases. Stops elective surgeries in Bexar, Harris, Dallas, and Travis counties (San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Austin).
- Here are graphs of daily new cases and daily new fatalities in Texas to compare with our reopening steps:
- It is always very important to consider what is happening LOCALLY as well as in locations to where you may be traveling.
- To follow cases in Taylor county: Abilene Health Department COVID-19
- To follow cases state wide by county: Texas DSHS COVID-19 Tracker
Should we be concerned here in Abilene:
- As has been the case since the beginning, this remains a very fluid situation with new information and data coming daily.
- The rapid rise in Texas is not a huge surprise and is certainly reason to be vigilant and make informed decisions. Again, continue to follow locally. Abilene is currently seeing stable COVID-19 hospital admissions though we are seeing a rise in the number of daily cases so this could change.
- At some level we should be shifting our mentality to “how can we safely live with this virus and make responsible decisions that consider our neighbors?” We are quite a ways from both a vaccine and herd immunity and most leading experts have little hope that the virus will weaken in the meantime. The balance of keeping the economy going while still protecting the vulnerable is a delicate one (and as we’ve seen, can be quite divisive).
What about daycare and starting school:
- This is one of the most common questions coming up currently. Here is a good article from Dallas Children’s to review:
- As for schools, local school district leaders are meeting with our healthcare leaders about Fall plans. Keep in mind this is evolving and August will look different than today.
- It’s also really important to remember that KIDS ARE BY IN LARGE DOING REALLY WELL WITH COVID-19.
Can we go on vacation…it is summer after all.
- So many factors to consider here. Bottom line, a lot of this is also going to come down to personal choice. There are just not really prescriptive recommendations surrounding vacationing either. Here are some things we’d strongly consider:
- Can you maintain social distancing?
- Be knowledgeable about what the virus is doing in and around your vacation destination as well as your stops along the way
- Drive or fly? Driving would be the easiest way to maintain social distancing, but I bet you don’t want to drive your 4mt old to Idaho to see grandma.
- Put a mask on anyone over 2 years old when social distancing can’t be maintained. If you have an infant, keep them in a carrier with some kind of cover.
- There are certainly risks here, but then again, there are real risks when you buckle into your car and head to the grocery store too. You never know if you’ll encounter that driver that is texting. What’s acceptable for you and your family?
- Know what states may have restrictions for travelers. There are some states that will require you to quarantine if you stay there.
- Get an airbnb or VRBO vacation home instead of staying at that hotel
We hope this helps in some of the decision making you have facing you currently or in the near future. As always, we’re here to help should questions or concerns arise. We’ll keep watching the situation and have we mentioned how thankful we are that we get to take care of your kids?