Texas Governor Greg Abbott Issues Executive Order to Close All Dine-in Restaurants, Bars, Gyms, Schools in Texas
Texas is now under public health disaster declaration for the first time in a century.
Governor Greg Abbott made an announcement regarding new statewide restrictions for people and businesses on Thursday, March 19, 2020 to help slow the expansion of the Wuhan virus.
Abbott said the order came about after receiving advice from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal government.
Before Abbott issued the order on Thursday, local governments were mostly in charge of imposing restrictions on Texans’ activities during the crisis.
Abbott’s executive order shuts down all dine-in restaurants, bars, and gyms across the Lone Star State.
Takeout/delivery will still be allowed. All schools in the state will also closed. The order went into effect on midnight Friday and goes into effect on April 3, however, it could still be extended.
All schools are closed through April 3 and must go online to continue their classes.
Social gatherings within Texas were also limited to 10 people, and visits to nursing homes are only allowed for critical care.
“It’s necessary because we can clearly see the trajectory that COVID-19 will follow if not effectively combated,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt with Texas Health and Human Services. “COVID-19 is the greatest public health challenge in living memory. We are seeing the true original meaning of the term viral being lived out around the world. COVID-19 is and will be lived out in Texas.”
Texas Senator John Cornyn said the federal government is doing all it can to aid Texas business and Texans that are no longer working due to the virus.
“We’ve passed two different bills so far that are designed to address the natural anxiety both about their health and also their economic circumstances,” Cornyn states. “We’re working on another installment as well. We have not had anything happen like this before.”
“The most prolific thing the state of Texas can do is to make sure all unemployed people can get back to work as soon as possible is for us to lead the way to bend the curve with regard to the expansion of COVID-19 in Texas,” Abbott remarked.
The governor indicated that the restrictions could become more stringent.
“The state now has quarantine authority. We don’t want to exercise that authority right off because we want to depend on the responsibility that all Texans will show,” he said. “If Texans are irresponsible in their behavior though, there are more tools where we can be more aggressive, only if needed.”
What Abbott issued is not a shelter-in-place order and does not place restrictions on domestic travel. People can still go out in public, go grocery shopping, and go to work. However, Abbott urged companies to let people work from home if possible.