(C) Joe Mossholder
“The traditional model that we have employed in the state of Texas for such a long time so effectively does not apply to an invisible disease that knows no geographic and no jurisdictional boundaries and threatens the lives of our fellow Americans across the entire country,” said Abbott at a Thursday morning press conference at the Capitol.
At the announcement on Thursday, Abbott ordered the following items be placed into effect statewide starting at Midnight tomorrow and be in place through April 3.
1. In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
2. In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.
3. In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
4. In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.
None of the orders handed down from the Governor today ban people public places such as grocery stores, gas stations, parks and banks nor does it mandate a shelter-in-place.
Alongside Governor Abbott’s executive order, Health and Safety Code Commissioner John Hellerstedt issued a Public Health Disaster. This declaration gives state and local officials extra tools to combat COVID-19. In that Commissioner Hellerstedt said:
--Texas and local health authorities can more easily require property owners to disinfect, decontaminate, and seal off property that might be contaminated.
-- Streamlines the process for state and local health authorities to invoke the courts to enforce quarantines of individuals.
--Activates enhanced tools for the Department of State Health Services to collect disease and health information and to share that information with law enforcement personnel and first responders as appropriate.
--Authorizes health authorities to take additional control measures that they see fit to control and eradicate the threat to public health.
This is the first such declaration to be used since 1901.