Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday announced a series of executive orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state.
The orders go into effect at midnight, Friday, March 20, and will end at 11:59 p.m. on April 3, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
These orders are in accordance with federal guidelines issued by the President and the CDC, and will aid in the state’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“The State of Texas is at a pivotal moment in our response to COVID-19, and it is imperative that we act now on preemptive measures to slow the spread of this virus,” said Abbott. “One of the most effective ways we can do this is by promoting more social distancing and ensuring Texans avoid large group settings such as bars, restaurants, gyms and schools where the risk of spreading COVID-19 is high.”
Abbott went on to say that protections must be put into place to protect the most vulnerable populations, which is why the State of Texas is barring all visitations at nursing homes and retirement or long-term care facilities except in the case of critical assistance.
These executives orders are being called “precautionary measures” that are in line with guidelines from the CDC and are expected to strengthen Texas’ ability to safeguard its communities and respond to COVID-19.
“As Texans, we must continue to work collaboratively to slow the spread of this virus and protect public health,” he said.
These are the four orders issued by Abbott on Thursday:
- Order No. 1 – Every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
- Order No. 2 – People shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; However, the use of drive-thru, pickup and delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.
- Order No. 3 – People shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
- Order No. 4 – All schools shall temporarily close.
These executive orders do not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Sheltering in place is not mandated at this time. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.
For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVID-19.