On March 31, 2020, Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order that takes effect on April 2 and lasts until April 30. All measures are enacted for the purpose of slowing down the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health of Texans. The Order is very similar to the Stay at Home or Shelter in Place orders issued by other localities and states.
What Is Ordered?
Under the Executive Order, Texans are to minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people not in the same household unless their activity is necessary to provide or obtain essential services.
What Is An Essential Service?
Essential services include everything listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in their Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce and includes an addition of religious services.
What Is Still Allowed?
The following activities are still allowed:
- Accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station;
- Providing or obtaining other essential services; and
- Visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling (however, again, smaller localities may have shut down parks or outdoor recreational facilities to check first before heading to a destination).
What Is Not Allowed or Shut Down?
The Order specifically lists the following activities as not allowed:
- Eating or drinking at bars, restaurants or food courts (however, drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options are still allowed and highly encouraged);
- Visiting gyms, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, or cosmetology salons;
- Visiting nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance; and
- Operating or attending in-person schools.
To find out what is specifically allowed where you live, you should check for other Orders that may have been issued by your Mayor, County Judge, or other local authorities.
What About Texas Schools?
Schools remain closed to in-person attendance until May 4, 2020.