Texas: “Cautiously coming back from the shutdown.”


The key word in the clock-baitish headline is “cautiously.” What if there were a reopening, and very few came? It would lessen the chance of a surge — and an economic recovery.

Texas Is Showing the World How to Reopen Cautiously at Bloomberg

A month into lifting restrictions, coronavirus cases haven’t surged. Many residents are keeping their distance, raising doubts about the speed of the economic recovery.

Over Memorial Day weekend, a club in Houston hosted a pool party that looked straight out of spring break, with loads of bulky bare chests, bikinis and day drinking on an umbrella-filled patio during a balmy Saturday.

A day earlier, Texas Governor Greg Abbott allowed bars—along with rodeos, bowling alleys and bingo halls—to open their doors at reduced capacity in the second phase of the state’s plan to restart the economy after shutting down in early April to slow the coronavirus.

The scene at Clé Houston, which quickly spread on social media, played to stereotypes of Texans—libertarian, don’t-tread-on-me types who prize personal freedom.

But the reality of how many of the state’s citizens are behaving is much different. In other parts of the city that Saturday, bars were tame, even boring, with sparse attendance and plenty of crowd control. Some owners marked tables and floors with an X to reinforce social distancing. Another set out squeeze bottles filled with hand sanitizer.

South Padre Island, this was not.

A month into the reopening of one of America’s biggest economic engines, Texas looks a lot like those other Houston watering holes: cautiously coming back from the shutdown …