Texas State Parks Close Indefinitely

5,737 Views | 87 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by jayelbee
phideaux_2003
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schmellba99 said:

phideaux_2003 said:

Question, are public beaches considered part of the state parks?
The county judge here has shut down vehicle access to Follet's beach.

Which means that, instead of people going to the beach and spreading out like normal, if you want to go to the beach now, you are forced to park at one of the entrances and walk. Which means people are now concentrated in common areas. Because that makes a whole lot of sense.

Again, this is nothing more than politicians using every opportunity to let us serfs know where we stand. There is absolutely zero logical reason to shut off public areas. Zero.


What is "here"?

We have a beach house rented in a couple of weeks on Boliver and we're really hoping we can get on the beach...
Lt. Joe Bookman
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schmellba99 said:

Lt. Joe Bookman said:

Meh, it's pretty much because the staff is limited at the moment so they can't keep up with the visitors, which is likely higher than average due to higher unemployment and people "working from home." I still spend lots of days on the river out here in Oregon while "working from home." Just gotta answer the phone every once in a while and draft up emails to send while on the water.
I work from home to.

And the "staff is limited" or "increased visitors" is a cop out. Most state parks have somebody taking money at the gate, and that is about it. Whether you have 1 visitor or 100, doesn't really change the metrics of what you need in terms of staff. If you have concessions, I could buy off on that aspect being closed - but buy in large, state parks (outside of places like Garner) are generally places you can go to avoid people, which is what the goal supposedly is.
Well that, and park rangers, clean up, maintenance, etc. I think there's more involved than just one guy at the gate.

I think it's more in line with, we will look the other way if you want to hop the gate, but we aren't putting our workers in harm's way to pick up trash after you just because you want to get fresh air. At least that's how it is out here. They closed all "developed sites," but aren't really stopping anyone from getting out.
TarponChaser
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phideaux_2003 said:

schmellba99 said:

phideaux_2003 said:

Question, are public beaches considered part of the state parks?
The county judge here has shut down vehicle access to Follet's beach.

Which means that, instead of people going to the beach and spreading out like normal, if you want to go to the beach now, you are forced to park at one of the entrances and walk. Which means people are now concentrated in common areas. Because that makes a whole lot of sense.

Again, this is nothing more than politicians using every opportunity to let us serfs know where we stand. There is absolutely zero logical reason to shut off public areas. Zero.


What is "here"?

We have a beach house rented in a couple of weeks on Boliver and we're really hoping we can get on the beach...
Follet's Beach- a/k/a Surfside Beach from the jetties NE to San Luis Pass. Brazoria County.
PFG
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I want to be clear, just so we have this on record for eternity:

You (as a living, breathing, thinking human) believe that the government shutting down more public places in order to further the lock downs during a pandemic and help stop the spread of a deadly virus of which we have no vaccine, is nothing more than a power flex?
rootube
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txags92 said:

This is a one-size fits all solution that doesn't need to be done this way. The areas where visitors could get into close contact or where employees could be put at risk are mostly public restrooms and camping areas, fishing piers, concession buildings, etc. Those could easily be flagged off as closed and the park rangers who are going to get paid to be on-site doing park maintenance anyway could be enforcing those closures. For smaller parks oriented mostly at camping and picnic use, it probably makes sense to close. But for larger parks with lots of open space and trails or large open fishing areas that are not piers that would concentrate use, there is no reason to close the entire park. Instead of going to each park manager and saying "Figure out which areas you could reasonably leave open and where people could safely use the park without congregating too closely", they are taking the easy copout route and just closing everything. But you can damn sure bet they are not going to lay anybody off and stop paying them. We will still get to pay full price for people to "maintain" parks that we can't use.
You are overthinking this. Could someone do a detailed study to figure out what parks to close and which ones to leave open while addressing the fact that you would likely be funneling people to the same places if you leave some open? Or do you just close the parks and hope this thing blows over in a couple of months? It seems like an easy decision.
rootube
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TarponChaser said:

phideaux_2003 said:

schmellba99 said:

phideaux_2003 said:

Question, are public beaches considered part of the state parks?
The county judge here has shut down vehicle access to Follet's beach.

Which means that, instead of people going to the beach and spreading out like normal, if you want to go to the beach now, you are forced to park at one of the entrances and walk. Which means people are now concentrated in common areas. Because that makes a whole lot of sense.

Again, this is nothing more than politicians using every opportunity to let us serfs know where we stand. There is absolutely zero logical reason to shut off public areas. Zero.


What is "here"?

We have a beach house rented in a couple of weeks on Boliver and we're really hoping we can get on the beach...
Follet's Beach- a/k/a Surfside Beach from the jetties NE to San Luis Pass. Brazoria County.
Just spitballing here. The obvious option is just to stay home and keep your head down until the coast is clear (Pun intended).
schmellba99
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phideaux_2003 said:

schmellba99 said:

phideaux_2003 said:

Question, are public beaches considered part of the state parks?
The county judge here has shut down vehicle access to Follet's beach.

Which means that, instead of people going to the beach and spreading out like normal, if you want to go to the beach now, you are forced to park at one of the entrances and walk. Which means people are now concentrated in common areas. Because that makes a whole lot of sense.

Again, this is nothing more than politicians using every opportunity to let us serfs know where we stand. There is absolutely zero logical reason to shut off public areas. Zero.


What is "here"?

We have a beach house rented in a couple of weeks on Boliver and we're really hoping we can get on the beach...
Brazoria County
TarponChaser
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schmellba99
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rootube said:

TarponChaser said:

phideaux_2003 said:

schmellba99 said:

phideaux_2003 said:

Question, are public beaches considered part of the state parks?
The county judge here has shut down vehicle access to Follet's beach.

Which means that, instead of people going to the beach and spreading out like normal, if you want to go to the beach now, you are forced to park at one of the entrances and walk. Which means people are now concentrated in common areas. Because that makes a whole lot of sense.

Again, this is nothing more than politicians using every opportunity to let us serfs know where we stand. There is absolutely zero logical reason to shut off public areas. Zero.


What is "here"?

We have a beach house rented in a couple of weeks on Boliver and we're really hoping we can get on the beach...
Follet's Beach- a/k/a Surfside Beach from the jetties NE to San Luis Pass. Brazoria County.
Just spitballing here. The obvious option is just to stay home and keep your head down until the coast is clear (Pun intended).
...or I could be free to use state resources to not just stay at home like some damned prisoner, especially when I can easily stay much farther away than the magical 6 feet at the beach or state park while enjoying the freedom that I am entitled to as an American.

But sure, let's let a bunch of bureaucrats revoke amendments and freedoms when we aren't under martial law. Because that's somehow the "right" way to do things.
WestGalvestonAggie
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htxag09 said:

Damn.

I just got laid off, so was at least looking forward to doing some kayak fishing down in Galveston or some hiking in Sam Houston State Park to kill some time.

You don't need a state park to kayak fish. Go launch in Sea Isle or Jamaica Beach. I normally wouldn't share that news, but it sounds like you could use it right now...
McDadeTXAggie
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So if the person at the gate has it and is greeted by 50 people each day....

Bastrop State park certainly didn't have anyone at their Kiosk and rarely does. They work out of the office which is 100 yards away
txags92
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rootube said:

txags92 said:

This is a one-size fits all solution that doesn't need to be done this way. The areas where visitors could get into close contact or where employees could be put at risk are mostly public restrooms and camping areas, fishing piers, concession buildings, etc. Those could easily be flagged off as closed and the park rangers who are going to get paid to be on-site doing park maintenance anyway could be enforcing those closures. For smaller parks oriented mostly at camping and picnic use, it probably makes sense to close. But for larger parks with lots of open space and trails or large open fishing areas that are not piers that would concentrate use, there is no reason to close the entire park. Instead of going to each park manager and saying "Figure out which areas you could reasonably leave open and where people could safely use the park without congregating too closely", they are taking the easy copout route and just closing everything. But you can damn sure bet they are not going to lay anybody off and stop paying them. We will still get to pay full price for people to "maintain" parks that we can't use.
You are overthinking this. Could someone do a detailed study to figure out what parks to close and which ones to leave open while addressing the fact that you would likely be funneling people to the same places if you leave some open? Or do you just close the parks and hope this thing blows over in a couple of months? It seems like an easy decision.
No, TPWD is underthinking this. There is a park manager for every park they own. That manager and the park rangers working under them know exactly which areas people use frequently and where they are likely to be pushed into groups. They could go through with minimal effort and identify which areas should be closed.

This is the same argument I had with PFG on the other thread. It is possible to do this sensibly and close the areas necessary to protect people...but instead they are just going to close everything. But here is the problem. Everybody who you are stopping from congregating by closing these kinds of places isn't going to just suddenly decide to stay home. Instead, they are going to go find somewhere else to congregate like idiots, but because we are closing all of the other places one by one, they are going to be pushed into fewer and fewer places with more and more people.

Eventually if you really want to stop the congregations, you are going to have to do some enforcement instead of just closing more and more places. So why not start with the enforcement against people causing the real problem (large groups or people not distancing) and where it is manageable with people who are already there and who will be working anyways (park rangers). Instead, we are pushing the people who want to get out and group up into only places without the ability to be closed easily, and now you have to allocate additional enforcement personnel to go police those areas. It is just dumb to do it this way.
Mr. AGSPRT04
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This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.

PFG
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It's closed now. Stay home please.
eric76
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I've been tempted to take an afternoon off for "self-isolation" and drive down to the lake where i could take a nap without any interruptions. That's a county park so I assume that it is still open. If not, there are roadside parks, but that's just not the same.
rootube
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Mr. AGSPRT04 said:

This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Except you don't have a shot of all the gas stations, grocery stores and other places you go to prep for a Big Bend trip. Or the state parks people who can't stay at their home because they have to babysit park visitors. Big Bend is a big place like the Texas coast. I'm sure with little effort you can go out there and exercise your rights despite the state imploring you to stay home. That does not make it a responsible choice.

03_Aggie
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rootube said:

Except you don't have a shot of all the gas stations, grocery stores and other places you go to prep for a Big Bend trip.




All places you are still free to go to still. Or are you proposing they shut down grocery stores and gas station too?
schmellba99
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03_Aggie said:

rootube said:

Except you don't have a shot of all the gas stations, grocery stores and other places you go to prep for a Big Bend trip.




All places you are still free to go to still. Or are you proposing they shut down grocery stores and gas station too?
shhhh! Let him think he's on a roll.
GSS
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rootube said:

Mr. AGSPRT04 said:

This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Except you don't have a shot of all the gas stations, grocery stores and other places you go to prep for a Big Bend trip. Or the state parks people who can't stay at their home because they have to babysit park visitors. Big Bend is a big place like the Texas coast. I'm sure with little effort you can go out there and exercise your rights despite the state imploring you to stay home. That does not make it a responsible choice.


So much drama.......gas stations? Where you pay at the pump? Grocery stores? Where you will go, regardless of eating at home, or camping.

The state already has (had) a permit system, no interaction needed.

Risk aversion has a different definition to so many.

Have you petitioned to have the USPS closed? UPS, Fed Ex? All "non-essential" (to many of us). Line drawing is real common theses days...
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PFG
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Why are you still here?
TarponChaser
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PFG said:

Why are you still here?


One might ask the same of you.
rootube
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GSS said:

rootube said:

Mr. AGSPRT04 said:

This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Except you don't have a shot of all the gas stations, grocery stores and other places you go to prep for a Big Bend trip. Or the state parks people who can't stay at their home because they have to babysit park visitors. Big Bend is a big place like the Texas coast. I'm sure with little effort you can go out there and exercise your rights despite the state imploring you to stay home. That does not make it a responsible choice.


So much drama.......gas stations? Where you pay at the pump? Grocery stores? Where you will go, regardless of eating at home, or camping.

The state already has (had) a permit system, no interaction needed.

Risk aversion has a different definition to so many.

Have you petitioned to have the USPS closed? UPS, Fed Ex? All "non-essential" (to many of us). Line drawing is real common theses days...
You tell me what is more drama?

Federal and State Leaders: Please stay home during this crisis.
Me: No problem
You: You are trying to take away my rights as an American citizen to go to parks.
ConstructionAg01
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I'm not seeing in this thread an argument about "taking away rights" as much as questioning the decision that has been made. The points I'm seeing are the unintended consequences of such a broad-brush closure.
GSS
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rootube said:

GSS said:

rootube said:

Mr. AGSPRT04 said:

This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Except you don't have a shot of all the gas stations, grocery stores and other places you go to prep for a Big Bend trip. Or the state parks people who can't stay at their home because they have to babysit park visitors. Big Bend is a big place like the Texas coast. I'm sure with little effort you can go out there and exercise your rights despite the state imploring you to stay home. That does not make it a responsible choice.


So much drama.......gas stations? Where you pay at the pump? Grocery stores? Where you will go, regardless of eating at home, or camping.

The state already has (had) a permit system, no interaction needed.

Risk aversion has a different definition to so many.

Have you petitioned to have the USPS closed? UPS, Fed Ex? All "non-essential" (to many of us). Line drawing is real common theses days...
You tell me what is more drama?

Federal and State Leaders: Please stay home during this crisis.
Me: No problem
You: You are trying to take away my rights as an American citizen to go to parks.
My empathy is towards the vast numbers who have no options in finding fresh air, exercise, and some form of recreation...while domestic abuse, child abuse, suicides, etc are spiking.

When I travel from home to our ranch (just about daily...), I violate those "Federal and State leaders" edict....then encounter no one, other than possibly another family member....and we easily practice social distancing. No drama....

Hell, I might even go fishing while I'm there....
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rootube
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ConstructionAg01 said:

I'm not seeing in this thread an argument about "taking away rights" as much as questioning the decision that has been made. The points I'm seeing are the unintended consequences of such a broad-brush closure.
You may want to re-read the thread. There are literally examples of that exact language. I'm not seeing what you are seeing so perhaps you could elaborate. The intended consequences are to prevent people from gathering and risk spreading infection. What are the unintended consequences other than missing an awesome trip outdoors until things settle down?
rootube
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GSS said:

rootube said:

GSS said:

rootube said:

Mr. AGSPRT04 said:

This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Except you don't have a shot of all the gas stations, grocery stores and other places you go to prep for a Big Bend trip. Or the state parks people who can't stay at their home because they have to babysit park visitors. Big Bend is a big place like the Texas coast. I'm sure with little effort you can go out there and exercise your rights despite the state imploring you to stay home. That does not make it a responsible choice.


So much drama.......gas stations? Where you pay at the pump? Grocery stores? Where you will go, regardless of eating at home, or camping.

The state already has (had) a permit system, no interaction needed.

Risk aversion has a different definition to so many.

Have you petitioned to have the USPS closed? UPS, Fed Ex? All "non-essential" (to many of us). Line drawing is real common theses days...
You tell me what is more drama?

Federal and State Leaders: Please stay home during this crisis.
Me: No problem
You: You are trying to take away my rights as an American citizen to go to parks.
My empathy is towards the vast numbers who have no options in finding fresh air, exercise, and some form of recreation...while domestic abuse, child abuse, suicides, etc are spiking.

When I travel from home to our ranch (just about daily...), I violate those "Federal and State leaders" edict....then encounter no one, other than possibly another family member....and we easily practice social distancing. No drama....

Hell, I might even go fishing while I'm there....
I feel like this argument would be more relevant if your ranch or abuse shelters were located in state parks. Going to a state park is a leisure activity. Abuse shelters are for victims of domestic abuse. What do either of these things have to do with the state closing parks?
txags92
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rootube said:

Mr. AGSPRT04 said:

This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Except you don't have a shot of all the gas stations, grocery stores and other places you go to prep for a Big Bend trip. Or the state parks people who can't stay at their home because they have to babysit park visitors. Big Bend is a big place like the Texas coast. I'm sure with little effort you can go out there and exercise your rights despite the state imploring you to stay home. That does not make it a responsible choice.


I guess you missed that part of the official announcement where TPWD said their employees would still be working at the parks maintaining them and keeping them ready to open back up. So TPWD isn't doing this so that they can send all their employees home. I am very close to somebody who works at TPWD, and the general sentiment in the agency, including with Carter Smith at the top was that they were looking for ways to keep people safe, but keep the parks open, and the governor is the one that stepped in and shut them down.

And in regards to Big Bend Ranch, do you know who the state relies on to respond if you get in trouble out there? You. They make it very clear that you are on your own out there and that you should not expect them to come rescue you if something goes wrong. So it is not a tax on the agency to keep those kinds of places open. And being on your own in the event of an emergency is nothing new for the people who enjoy it out there.
McDadeTXAggie
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Mr. AGSPRT04 said:

This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.




You can almost see the Corona virus in that picture. Scary!
oneeyedag
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As someone in the business doing Risk and Safety in State Parks I can say this was not an easy decision. Here in Virginia, the State has refused to heed any advice from people like myself who have advocated shutting down parks. So the counties, have made the decisions that Parks and National Forrests within their counties to enforce this stay at home within their control.

Lots of reasons for this move, but just a few:

1. Sanitation and Hygiene. People are pissing and pooping wherever and whenever. Inability to clean and sanitize appropriately. Overcrowded parks with no bathrooms equals a DEQ nightmare.

In the risk world, one might consider parks being open as open and obvious and partake at your own risk. This is fine on an individual bases and under traditional circumstances, for example mountain climbing. However, all it takes is one person to pass on to hundreds. This is not business as usual nor normal circumstances.

2. Personnel and resources to protect themselves and the public are limited. Preserving PPE to clean lift stations, bathrooms, trash cans, and man contact stations requires extra staff that normally would not be needed this time of year and burn rate of PPE goes up exponentially. There is a high burn rate on PPE. I do fit testing for N95 masks our LEO only, no other staff are fit tested for PPE. They get masks when available.

2A Part time staff and students aren't available like they are during peak times like summer.

3. Local and state governments are pushing stay at home, but yet lets open up parks and let people congregate at will.

4. Revenue funds are limited see #2

It sucks yes, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Complementary pic of one of our lake beaches for reference: remember no bathrooms, no changing areas and no concession.

ABCDE
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Good. I'll have the state parks all to myself. Just like when obama shut down national forest due to a pissing match on funding the federal gubment. I bypassed the little saw horses they had up at the entrance of the Lincoln National forest and went about my business with no issues.
CW Griswold
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This seems reasonable



txags92
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Yep, he was doing fine with his social distancing right up until the "proper authorities" walked into his space and started touching him.

With regard to that beach scene posted above, that is exactly what I am talking about. State Parks have rangers. They can walk up to groups like that and ask them to disperse or ask them to leave the park if they insist on congregating like that. That is just as easy, if not easier than sending several people out in a boat to pick up a lone paddle boarder who isn't endangering anybody. Like I said previously, the parks can shut down areas where the public is likely to be repeatedly touching the same spot...like bathrooms, picnic tables, drinking fountains (like on the City of Houston paths). They can take down basketball rims to discourage pickup games. Those are ways to avoid having crowds that don't involve closing the entire park down to people who are perfectly willing and able to act responsibly.
AggieOO
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Mr. AGSPRT04 said:

This is dumb. My regular and most effective method of "social distancing" long before this pandemic was Big Bend Ranch State Park.


i should know better than to chime in, but....unless you live out in big bend, ask the residents out there about how they feel about people coming out there to "social distance." I'm out that way quite a lot, and absolutely LOVE it out there, but the residents of the towns out there have been and are literally begging people to stay home. The pressure on the infrastructures of those small towns is massive with even the smallest influx. You think its hard to find groceries in austin/houston/wherever you are? Think about the folks out west who have to not only battle the residents, but people coming in from bigger towns who are buying their goods.

And yes, I'm sure you response is or will be, "i bring all my own food/beer/equipment." Even with that, what if something goes wrong? Its unlikely, but removing resources from those communities is impactful at a time like this.

Look, I love that part of the world like very few other do. Probably much like you do, but just because you can be responsible out there doesn't mean everyone can. This is a temporary shutdown, though it is unfortunate to be happening at one of the best times of year to be out that way.
El Chupacabra
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PFG said:

Sorry about the lost job. There's a bunch of us in that boat. My household went from 2 employed parents to 1 employed at 40% of previous C19 levels. Hope there's better days ahead.


We all must sacrifice to save millions of lives, comrade.
CTGilley
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GSS you are allowed to hunt, fish and work on the ranch per Abbot,

I talked to my Best Friend who is a Park superintendent and they got 15 minutes notice (that was pretty ****ty they do not even have a gate). I asked about his employees and he said they had several weeks worth of work before it was and issue. There is a lot of work he could justify because they were open 24/7 and can not get caught up. Current projections show zero cased of COVID in TX by early May.
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