Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that any further reopening of the state’s economy would be put to a halt.
The news comes after the state reported a record-high number of new cases on Thursday, making it the third in a row with a record number of new coronavirus cases.
The state also saw 47 new deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related fatalities to 2,296.
“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” the governor said in a statement.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”
Businesses that were given permission to open under the previous phases of reopening can “continue to operate at the designated occupancy levels and under the minimum standard health protocols provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services.”
However, the decision could slow down any planned expansion of occupancy levels at places like bars, restaurants and amusement parks and other venues.
Abbott suspended elective surgeries in four counties, Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis, as he was concerned about hospital space, ordering hospitals to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately and medically necessary.
This week, the governor reported the worsening trends and strongly urged the public to stay home, as the number of hospitalizations climbed to nearly 4,400 patients, setting a new record for a 13th consecutive day.
He also reminded Texans to wear masks in public places, although he has not issued a statewide mask order.
The state’s cities and counties however imposed new orders on businesses to require customers and workers to wear face masks.