As recently as yesterday afternoon it did not appear that Texas Governor Greg Abbott would be willing to shut down parts of the state's economy again, but something evidently changed his mind in the last 24 hours.
Abbott signed an executive order today that calls on bars to shut down and for restaurants to scale back their capacity.
And that's good, but the horse is already out of the barn and it's largely his fault.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott had pursued up to now one of the most aggressive reopening schedules of any state and had not only resisted calls to order the wearing of masks but had also refused until last week to let local governments take such measures.
“It is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” he said. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.
After reporting nearly 9,000(!) new infections this morning, Florida also effectively ordered bars to shut down by halting the consumption of alcohol on their premises.
Just closing bars feels like a half-measure that isn't going to cut it, but it would be great to be wrong about that because the economic implications of more shutdowns are severe.
Republican governors and lawmakers know it's an economic shit sandwich, but that's why they should have taken the virus seriously in the first place. Republicans collectively decided that a combination of magical thinking and happy talk would make the virus go away and, not surprisingly, it didn't. Businesses that survived one shutdown may not survive another especially at a time when congressional Republicans in Washington have decided to sit on their hands are refuse to pass more stimulus.
By refusing to wear masks, shrugging at the notion of social distancing, and forcing people to go back to work in unsafe conditions, Republicans have all but snorted lines of COVID and spread it to people who've done their best to stay safe.
I hope voters make them pay for it in November.