NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott is asking the Department of Agriculture to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in the state to use their benefits for restaurant takeout and drive-thru service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott, along with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, sent the letter Tuesday. If approved, the option would open up another food source for some 3.2 million Texans.

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“The state must do everything it can to make life more manageable for citizens and ensure that Texans can provide meals for their families,” Abbott said.

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Calling COVID-19 a “public health emergency” Abbott asked that a statewide Restaurant Meal Program be implemented. If approved, he said the program would help businesses, big and small, by ensuring “the preservation of the local food supply by allowing participating restaurants to accept SNAP benefits as payment.”

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Texas is also seeking to streamline the SNAP application process — including approval and agreement execution.