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Public Policy and Administration


Boris Bruk


The novel coronavirus, also known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 and causing a disease called COVID-19, reached the United States in January 2020. In the United States, some state and local governments-imposed lockdowns on citizens and businesses in the name of public safety and health, while other governments prioritized avoiding disruptions to economic activity in their states and localities. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the factors that influenced the State of Texas’s policies toward business activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by the theory of regime values, a nonintrusive approach was employed to thematically analyze a condensed sample size of official court case records, government documents, official meetings, press conferences, and interview transcripts to answer the research question. An analysis of these documents revealed three central themes: prioritizing public health and safety, the constitutionality of the executive orders, and the executive orders were informed by the national government and health experts. Overall, this study suggests Texas policymakers prioritized the health and safety of citizens as one factor that influenced policies towards business activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, this study also suggests the federal government and health experts were an influential factor in Texas’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Open debate and discussion around the need for updated emergency management approaches that protect property rights and protecting public health were recommendations found to benefit society at large which may result in positive social change.