Open Texas Strike force member: Future of 2020 fall football ‘is in the hands of the public'

Texas Open Strike Force Member Marc McDougal discuses COVID-19 on KCBD

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The behavior of the public today will determine the fate of falls sports, including college and high school football.

In a live interview shortly after 6 p.m., former Lubbock mayor and local businessman, Marc McDougal, told KCBD that controlling a soaring number of COVID-19 cases across state will be essential if fans will be allowed to attend games.

Thursday marks the third day in a row Lubbock reported more than 100 new cases of COVID-19. That news comes on the same day Governor Abbot paused reopening across the state.

McDougal says if the numbers don’t come down, more restrictive orders could be coming. Abbot is also paying close attention to Lubbock and West Texas saying this part of the state is not far behind the four largest counties, Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties, where the numbers of hospitalized patients with the virus are quickly growing.

After attending a phone conference with the state’s strike force, McDougal believes fall football is not the only thing in jeopardy.

“I think if this trend continues it not only puts fall football in jeopardy but all outdoor gatherings….it falls on all us to bring the numbers down,” he said.

Gov. Abbott halted elective surgeries in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas after the number of COVID-19 patients more than doubled in the last two weeks. There are more than 11,000 new cases in the last two days statewide.

Because of the numbers, Texas is now considered a virus hot spot.

“The Governor said on the call today that he does not want to issue a stay at home order. We’ve talked about it before and this is something we can’t control, but it lays squarely on our shoulders. And by ours, I’m talking about residents of Lubbock and the state of Texas. We’ve got to wear our masks, we’ve got to wash our hands, we’ve got to do our social distancing. If we don’t do that, there will be other orders the Governor will be forced to make.”

The pause on reopening does not roll back previous orders that already allowed much of the economy to reopen. But it would appear to slow down any planned expansion of occupancy levels at places including bars, restaurants, amusement parks and other venues.

Abbott is more urgent in his tone now, saying Texans need to stay home, wear a mask in public, wash your hands and practice social distancing.

The governor hasn’t issued a statewide mask order, but the state’s cities and counties have imposed new orders on businesses to require customers and workers to wear face coverings.

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