You could almost hear Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick saying to himself, “Hey, everyone! Look at what I did.” as he released the final report from his task force to reopen Texas.
Patrick describes the report as a “detailed guide of best practices for individual businesses to reopen their companies while keeping employees and customers safe.” It comes as Gov. Greg Abbott has already laid out a timeline for how and when businesses can reopen.
The task force of 23 members was led by G. Brint Ryan of the Dallas-based tax consulting firm Ryan LLC.
Totaling 113 pages, the report appears long on text but short on specifics. There are numerous recommendations for everything from restaurants and farming to education, construction and real estate, but no detailed plans, proposed legislative timeline or pledge from Patrick to carry those recommendations into reality.
The group’s conclusion is that the Texas economy can be safely and effectively reopened and restored to 100% in the not too distant future.
“Using the knowledge gained since the pandemic began, we believe business owners can use their creativity and ingenuity to formulate safe and effective protocols for their businesses to open and stay open,” the report reads. “It is the market that is the ultimate arbiter of how businesses can be successfully opened. Businesses and other organizations that don’t develop safe and effective protocols will lack customers whether or not their doors are open as customers and employees will only return if they feel safe.”
For the energy, oil and gas industry, the area of the state’s economy hit hardest by the pandemic, the report recommends the creation of a state-sponsored petroleum reserve to ensure adequate supply and ensure that producers have a home for their product and can continue to operate during future times of instability.
Overall, the report tends to lean toward the same tried-and-true information that is widely available elsewhere — wash your hands, stay home if you feel sick, work at home as much as possible, wear personal protective gear, test for, track and trace the virus.