Drayton McLane Jr.

Drayton McLane Jr.

Temple businessman Drayton McLane Jr. has been tapped to serve on an advisory council for Gov. Greg Abbott’s Strike Force to Open Texas.

McLane, chairman of the Temple-based McLane Group, will serve on the governor’s Special Advisory Council that will share innovative ideas to help Texas businesses strategically reopen while containing the coronavirus spread.

The council consists of 39 business leaders representing the state’s regions and industries. The advisory council will collaborate with working groups to devise strategies, statewide standards, and appropriate timeframes to reopen the state while prioritizing health and safety, Abbott announced Friday.

The strike force will immediately begin providing input on potential additional openings of activities and services in Texas consistent with guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a news release said. Abbott will announce a revised plan for the state based on these initial recommendations on April 27.

Temple Chamber of Commerce Presidents Rod Henry said Friday that he thought the governor’s move to allow for retail to-go sales was positive. He said the move would help businesses generate income, which can be used to bring back employees.

“You can’t get (employees) back to work if you are not selling anything so this is a step in the right direction,” Henry said. This move “has got to make everyone feel a little better about what is happening and that there is light at the end of the tunnel finally.”

Henry urged caution as people need to adhere to safety guidelines to protect employees and customers from coronavirus.

 “It could backfire quickly and nobody wants that to happen,” Henry said. “Businesses want to open up, there is no question about that. Using the proper precautions, proper hygiene, proper distancing and everything that has been outlined, this gradual reopening can occur and can occur successfully.”

For decades, McLane is active in statewide business, philanthropic and civic roles.

Among his work, he is chairman of the board for Texas Center, a group developing the Texas Bullet Train, a proposed high-speed passenger line that would connect the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area to the Houston area.

McLane was thanked Thursday in a tweet by state Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway. She said she was appreciative of efforts by McLane Global, a Houston subsidiary of the McLane Group, to feed schoolchildren in rural areas.

“I’d like to send a TX sized thank you to Drayton McLane and his hard-working employees,” Buckingham said.

McLane responded Friday: “This is work that we love doing!”

McLane Global’s participation in the emergency rural hunger relief effort was announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-March.

Telegram staff writer Shane Monaco contributed to this report.