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Texas: State-by-State COVID-19 Guidance

TEXAS

January 25, 2021:

On January 20, Governor Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management has established a new COVID-19 therapeutic infusion center in Lubbock. The infusion center will begin accepting patients Thursday and has been provided with Regeneron's monoclonal antibodies and Bamlanivimab to treat outpatient cases of COVID-19 who meet certain criteria and who have a referral from a hospital or doctor. Previous infusion centers have been established in El Paso, Laredo, Harlingen, Austin, Fort Worth, Irving and more to help communities combat COVID-19 and reduce hospitalizations.

January 21, 2021:

On January 20, Governor Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management has established a new COVID-19 therapeutic infusion center in Lubbock. The infusion center will begin accepting patients Thursday and has been provided with Regeneron's monoclonal antibodies and Bamlanivimab to treat outpatient cases of COVID-19 who meet certain criteria and who have a referral from a hospital or doctor. Previous infusion centers have been established in El Paso, Laredo, Harlingen, Austin, Fort Worth, Irving and more to help communities combat COVID-19 and reduce hospitalizations.

January 12, 2021:

(Austin): On January 12, Governor Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management established an Alternate Care Site in Austin to expand hospital capacity in the region and reduce the burden on hospitals. Opening today at the Austin Convention Center, the facility will provide central Texas with additional hospital beds, medical equipment, and medical personnel to assist with the region's COVID-19 response. The facility has a capacity of 25 beds and can expand to more beds if needed.

(Austin): On January 11, increased COVID-19 restrictions went into effect in the Austin area. For the seven days prior, COVID-19 patients made up more than 15% of the total hospital capacity in the Central Texas region called Trauma Service Area (TSA) O, triggering rollbacks. The counties in TSA O are Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, San Sab, Travis, and Williamson.

Under Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, businesses in TSA O must roll back their opening capacities from 75% to 50%, elective surgeries must be put on hold, and bars not operating as restaurants must close. The restrictions will be lifted following seven consecutive days with a hospitalization rate below 15%.

Similar occupancy restrictions were previously instituted for numerous other Trauma Service Areas, notably TSA-E, which includes Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton, Ellis, and 15 other contiguous counties; TSA-B, which includes Lubbock County; and the Trauma Service Areas surrounding Amarillo, Abilene, San Antonio, Houston, Longview, Lufkin, El Paso, Waco, Bryan-College Station, Galveston, and Laredo.

January 11, 2021:

On January 11, Governor Abbott held a press conference where he provided an update on Texas' COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts which includes establishing hub locations across Texas to administer the vaccine. The Texas Department of State Health Services has announced the list of COVID-19 vaccination hub providers for the week of January 11. These 28 hub providers will focus on large community vaccination efforts as Texas vaccinates health care workers, people 65 and older, and those with medical conditions that put them at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. So far, more than 1.5 million vaccine doses have been delivered to providers throughout Texas. Texas has already administered 802,507 doses. This week, Texas is set to receive nearly 940,000 doses, including nearly 200,000 first doses delivered to providers in 104 counties.

On January 9, Governor Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management has established two new COVID-19 therapeutic infusion centers in Fort Worth and Irving. The infusion centers have been provided with Regeneron's monoclonal antibodies and bamlanivimab to treat outpatient cases of COVID-19 who meet certain criteria and who have a referral from a hospital or doctor. Previous infusion centers have been established in El Paso, Laredo, Harlingen, and Austin to help communities combat COVID-19 and reduce hospitalizations.

January 7, 2021:

On January 7, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced that next week, Texas will direct most of the COVID-19 vaccine received from the federal government to large providers who can vaccinate a total of more than 100,000 people.

Providers that receive the larger amounts of vaccine will vaccinate health care workers, people who are 65 and older, and those who have a medical condition that increases their risk of severe disease or death. These vaccination hubs will provide those priority populations with identifiable sites where vaccination is occurring and a simpler way to sign-up for an appointment with each provider, including a registration phone number and website.

The DSHS surveyed vaccine providers about their capacity to operate large, community vaccination sites the week of Jan. 11 and will publish a list of vaccine hub providers later this week once vaccine allocation is finalized.

Large and small sites around Texas will receive a total of about 200,000 doses of vaccine next week. That will be the last week the state is required to reserve doses to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities, freeing up more vaccine for use in other settings in the future.

January 6, 2021:

On January 5, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, M.D. announced that all providers that have received COVID-19 vaccines must immediately vaccinate healthcare workers, Texans over the age of 65, and people with medical conditions that put them at a greater risk of severe disease or death from COVID-19.

The Commissioner previously appointed an Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) to make recommendations on vaccine allocation decisions. This includes identifying groups that should be vaccinated first.

Front-line healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities are eligible now to receive the vaccine, since December 14, 2020. This group is considered Phase 1A. Those in Phase 1B, are also eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine now depending on availability and the vaccine provider. Phase 1B recipients include:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
    • Solid organ transplantation
    • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Vaccine supply remains limited, but more vaccine will be delivered to providers each week. The EVAP is considering what criteria could be used for later stages of vaccine distribution. The DSHS currently estimates Spring 2021 for when vaccines will be available for the general public, but it depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.

(Houston): On January 5, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo confirmed the region has crossed the state's hospitalization threshold to trigger COVID-19 reopening rollbacks. Trauma Service Area Q – which is made up of Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Austin, Colorado, Matagorda, Walker, Waller and Wharton counties – has had seven consecutive days of COVID-19 hospitalizations above 15% of total hospital capacity (Dec. 29, 2020 to Jan. 4, 2021). At seven consecutive days, a provision of Governor Abbott’s reopening Order kicks in and requires bars to close, non-essential businesses to reduce capacity to 50%, and hospitals to halt elective surgeries.

In order for the area to return to where it had been (allowing elective surgeries and businesses operating at 75%), it must log seven consecutive days of COVID-19 hospitalizations less than 15% of total hospital capacity.

January 5, 2021:

On January 5, Governor Abbott extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The Disaster Declaration, originally issued on March 13 and subsequently renewed, provides the state with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, a state of disaster may not continue for more than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor.

(Houston): Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows that COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area Q, which includes Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller and Wharton counties, have been above 15% for six consecutive days (Dec. 29, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021). At seven consecutive days, a provision of Governor Abbott’s reopening order kicks in and requires bars to close, non-essential businesses to reduce capacity to 50%, and hospitals to halt elective surgeries.

January 4, 2021:

On January 4, Governor Abbott announced that the Texas Division Of Emergency Management has established a COVID-19 therapeutic infusion center in Austin to treat outpatient cases of COVID-19. The infusion center, which will begin accepting patients on Wednesday, has been provided with Regeneron to treat patients, who meet certain criteria, with a referral from a hospital or doctor.

Further, on January 1, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to end the enforcement of Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s and Travis County Judge Andy Brown’s local orders on Friday, which imposed a four-day shutdown of dine-in food and beverage services from 10:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., December 31 through January 3. The Texas Supreme Court blocked the orders just hours before the curfew was to begin for a second of three nights. The court gave no reasons for stepping in, merely saying the 3rd Court of Appeals should have halted enforcement of the curfew while it weighed Attorney General Ken Paxton's appeal challenging its legality. Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton have stated they will adamantly oppose local orders that go beyond the limits already set by the Governor's emergency pandemic orders.

December 7, 2020:

On November 11, Governor Abbott announced that the State has deployed additional resources to El Paso and Lubbock to help combat COVID-19 in these communities. These resources include medical personnel, medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), mobile testing sites, and more.

November 17, 2020:

Governor Abbott announced that the Texas Department of State Health Services is allocating an initial shipment of Eli Lily & Company’s monoclonal antibody therapy to be distributed to acute care hospitals across the state. The intention is these treatments will help health care professionals effectively treat COVID-19 cases in their communities.

November 12, 2020:

On November 11, Governor Abbott announced that the State has deployed additional resources to El Paso and Lubbock to help combat COVID-19 in these communities. These resources include medical personnel, medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), mobile testing sites, and more.

November 10, 2020:

In light of the recent announcements about the availability of medicines and vaccines to combat COVID-19, on November 10, Governor Abbott announced that Texas has prepared allocation plans to swiftly distribute medicines and vaccines that are becoming available to treat COVID-19. The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has already developed a Vaccine Distribution Plan and is working with health care providers to enroll in their Immunization Program to be eligible to administer these vaccines once available. Over 2,500 providers have already enrolled in the program. DSHS also formed an Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel to develop vaccine allocation strategies.

November 9, 2020:

On November 6, Governor Abbott extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The Disaster Declaration, originally issued on March 13 and subsequently renewed, provides the state with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, a state of disaster may not continue for more than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor.

October 14, 2020:

Pursuant to Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 allowing Texas counties to opt-in to reopen bars and similar establishments at up to 50% capacity, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has an interactive map showing the Texas counties that have been approved to allow bars to reopen under the order.

On October 14, Governor Abbott, the Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management announced the creation of a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program for Texas school systems. This program will help schools conduct rapid tests of district employees and students — with the written permission of their parents — to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campuses. Schools enrolled in the program will also receive personal protective equipment to safely administer the rapid tests, which produce reliable results within 15 minutes. The launch of the pilot program will include eight participating school systems with plans to significantly ramp up the program across the state. Texas public and private schools interested in applying for the testing program will be able to apply through the Texas Education Agency no later than Wednesday, October 28.

October 12, 2020:

On October 8, Governor Abbott amended Executive Order GA-31 (the amendment to be effective October 14, 2020) changing the definition of “areas with high hospitalizations.” Executive Order GA-31 re-authorized elective surgeries for a majority of the state. However, areas with high hospitalizations must continue postponing elective surgeries. The amendment changes the definition of “areas with high hospitalizations” to mean any Trauma Service Area that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity exceeds 15%, until such time as the Trauma Service Area has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity is 15% or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations is maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.

October 8, 2020:

On October 7, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-32, effective October, 14, 2020, to open bars and similar establishments at up to 50% capacity in conjunction with county officials. In regions and counties with low COVID-19 hospitalizations (defined as any Trauma Service Area where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% of hospital capacity), County Judges will be able to opt their county into opening bars beginning October 14, provided they assist in enforcing health protocols, including:

  • Dance floors at bars and similar establishments must remain closed;
  • All patrons must be seated while eating or drinking (with limited exceptions for sampling at breweries, distilleries, and wineries);
  • All patrons must wear masks when they are not seated at a table;
  • Tables must be limited to 6 individuals or less; and
  • Establishments must follow specific curfew guidelines.

The 50% occupancy limit applies only indoors; the limit does not apply to outdoor areas, events, or establishments, although social distancing and other protocols must be followed.

The Executive Order also increases the occupancy levels for all business establishments other than bars in all areas with low COVID-19 hospitalizations to 75%. In areas with high hospitalizations, any business establishment that otherwise would have a 75% occupancy or operating limit may operate at up to only 50%.

The Executive Order shall remain in effect and in full force unless it is modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the Governor.

On October 7, Governor Abbott extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The Disaster Declaration, originally issued on March 13 and subsequently renewed, provides the state with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. (According to Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, a state of disaster may not continue for more than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor).

October 7, 2020:

On October 7, 2020, Governor Abbott announced that health care providers may now enroll in the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Immunization Program to be eligible to administer COVID-19 vaccines once they are available. Hospitals, medical practices, pharmacies, and long-term care facilities that want to participate are required to enroll as vaccine providers at EnrollTexasIZ.dshs.texas.gov to administer COVID-19 immunizations in Texas.

While vaccine production ramps up, the supply will be limited and provided to critical populations such as health care workers or people at a higher risk of severe disease. Under federal guidelines, providers who choose to participate must agree to administer the vaccine regardless of a recipient’s ability to pay, provide a vaccination record to each recipient, store doses of the vaccine under the proper conditions, and report the number of doses received and used.

October 5, 2020:

On October 2, Governor Abbott and the Texas Health and the Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced $3.5 million in federal funding for nursing facilities to purchase plexiglass barriers and tents to allow for safe visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nursing facilities may apply for this funding through HHSC beginning October 5, 2020. Nursing facilities that complete an application and are approved by Texas HHSC can receive up to $3,000 per facility to purchase the plexiglass barriers and tents to help facilitate in-person visits for residents.

For information on how to apply for funding, visit the Texas HHS website.

September 28, 2020:

On September 25, 2020, Governor Abbott announced the allocation of over $171 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which will primarily be used for targeted rental assistance for Texans at risk of becoming homeless due to eviction. The funding will also allow the Supreme Court of Texas, the Office of Court Administration, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to work in partnership with local governments and non-profits and the newly created Texas Eviction Diversion Program to help renters stay in their homes, catch up on missed rental payments, and avoid an eviction on their records.

September 17, 2020:

On September 17, 2020, Governor Abbott held a press conference to provide an update on the state's ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. During the press conference, the Governor issued Executive Order GA-30 expanding occupancy levels to 75% from 50% for most of Texas, effective September 21, 2020, for:

  • Restaurants;
  • Retail stores;
  • Office buildings;
  • Manufacturing facilities;
  • Gyms and exercise facilities/classes;
  • Museums; and
  • Libraries.

At the same time, Governor Abbott said the state was not yet ready to reopen bars. The Order will remain in effect unless modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the Governor.

This expanded occupancy excludes areas with high hospitalizations—defined as any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15%, until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15% or less. Using this metric, 19 of the 22 TSAs in Texas qualify to increase occupancy levels to 75%. Three of the 22 TSAs (S-Victoria, T-Laredo, and V-Lower Rio Grande Valley) must remain at 50% occupancy. These three TSAs contain the following counties: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Victoria, Jim Hogg, Webb, Zapata, Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy.

Also at the press conference, Governor Abbot issued Executive Order GA-31, effective September 21, 2020, re-authorizing elective surgeries for a majority of the state. The three TSAs with high hospitalizations (S-Victoria, T-Laredo, and V-Lower Rio Grande Valley) must continue postponing elective surgeries until the hospitalization metric requirements are met. The Order will remain in effect unless modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the Governor.

Governor Abbott also announced new visitation guidelines, effective September 24, 2020, for:

  • Nursing homes;
  • Assisted living facilities;
  • Intermediate care facilities;
  • Home and community-based service providers; and
  • Inpatient hospice.

Under the new guidance, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who will be provided necessary training to allow them to safely go inside a facility for a scheduled visit, including in the resident’s room. Only one caregiver will be able to visit a resident at a time, but social distancing will not be required.

Facilities are required to train essential caregivers on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control measures. Proper PPE must be used at all times during these scheduled visits, and the caregiver must test negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before the initial visit.

For general visitors who are not a designated an essential caregiver, these updated guidelines will allow facilities to schedule outdoor no-contact visits, open window visits, or indoor visitation with the use of Plexiglas safety barriers.

September 8, 2020:

On September 7, 2020, Governor Abbott extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The Disaster Declaration, originally issued on March 13 and renewed on April 12, May 13, June 11, and July 10, and August 8, provides the state with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. (According to Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, a state of disaster may not continue for more than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor).

August 27, 2020:

(Austin/Travis County): On August 25, Austin and Travis County announced that they have moved back to Stage 3 of the COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines. Under Stage 3, individuals are urged to maintain social distancing and wear fabric face coverings in public, to avoid dining and shopping except with precautions, and to avoid all social gatherings and gathering in groups of more than 10 people. They are also advised they are safe to return to work at essential and reopened businesses.

August 25, 2020:

(Tarrant County): On August 25, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley extended the County’s mask mandate, originally issued on June 25, until November 30, 2020. The order reinforces Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-29 and requires all entities in Tarrant County providing goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy ("Health and Safety Policy"). The Health and Safety Policy must require, at a minimum, that all employees and visitors to the entity's business premises wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public.

August 20, 2020:

(San Antonio): On August 19, 2020, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued a seventh addendum to his Eighth Emergency Health Declaration that includes language issued by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff related to Bexar County's latest Executive Order. This addendum further identifies more stringent measures that are necessary to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is effective indefinitely.

Key measures include:

  • All commercial entities providing goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy (“Health and Safety Policy”). The Health and Safety Policy must require, at a minimum, 1) that all employees or visitors to the commercial entity’s business premises or other facilities wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public where six feet of separation is not feasible, 2) that the business prominently display a list of COVID-19 symptoms at or near the public and employee entrances of the premises.
  • San Antonio businesses strongly encouraged to take the “Greater, Safer, Together” pledge. Those businesses that take the pledge may post their commitment to facilitate compliance with the County’s policy posting requirement. The pledge commits businesses to:
    • Using face coverings
    • Practicing physical distancing
    • Conducting temperature checks
    • Providing hand sanitizer
    • Following CDC protocols
    • Implementing contactless payment when possible

General COVID-19 awareness training for employees.

August 18, 2020:

(Houston): On August 16, 2020, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that applications for the City of Houston’s Small Business Economic Relief Program (SBERP) will open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19. The program, which is funded with $15 million of the City's allocated CARES Act 2020 funds, will provide immediate and short-term grant assistance to small businesses and chambers of commerce that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4 and must be completed online at www.cityofhouston-sberp.org.

August 17, 2020:

(Travis County): On August 14, 2020, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe signed County Judge Order 2020-16; Relating to the COVID-19 Community Restrictions. Effective as of 12:00 a.m., Sunday, August 16, 2020 and continuing through 11 :59 p.m. on December 15, 2020 unless extended. This Order:

  • Extends the local disaster declaration and public health emergency for Travis County.
  • Extends prohibition of any gatherings that exceed 10 people, except as permitted by the Governor’s Proclamation and Orders.
  • Extends requirement for every person in Travis County to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space whenever not feasible to maintain six (6) feet of social distancing from persons outside one’s household.

(Austin): On August 14, 2020, Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued Order No. 20200815-019 extending existing requirements for face coverings, social distancing and limiting gatherings. It also extends development application deadlines to March 15, 2021 and changes nursing home standards to comply with new state guidelines allowing for some visitation. Lastly, the Austin order stipulates that each school that offers instruction to students in one or more grades, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, must follow the phased-in approach in provided in Exhibit E unless it will result in a loss of funding from the Texas Education Agency.

On August 17, 2020, the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department (NHCD) and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) announced the launch of the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program, a $17.75 million program providing $12.9 million in direct rent support for income-eligible Austin renters who are financially impacted by COVID-19. The RENT program will also offer related support for tenant stabilization, eviction prevention and direct community outreach. The RENT Application Portal will open Wednesday August 19, 2020 at 8:00a.m. (CST) and remain open through January 2021, or until funds are expended.

August 13, 2020:

(Bexar County): On August 12, 2020, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued Executive Order NW-14, effective as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020 and continuing through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 unless extended, modified or terminated early by the County Judge. The Executive Order continues the local disaster declaration and public health emergency for Bexar County for the period specified and incorporates and adopts the most recent executive orders, proclamations or declarations issued by Governor Greg Abbott and any subsequent orders, proclamations or declarations issued by the Governor relating to the COVID-19 disaster.

Key measures include:

  • All commercial entities in Bexar County providing goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy (“Health and Safety Policy”). The Health and Safety Policy must require, at a minimum, that all employees or visitors to the commercial entity’s business premises or other facilities wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public where six feet of separation is not feasible.
  • In accordance with Executive Order GA-29, every person 10 years old or older in Bexar County shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or open space to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing.
  • All large gatherings or events estimated to be in excess of 10 people, whether indoor or outdoor, are prohibited.
  • Social gatherings, including family gatherings, shall not include more than 10 persons.
  • Beginning at 11 :59 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, all persons must vacate Bexar County parks and all Bexar County parks will thereafter be closed to the public until 11 :59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020.
  • The upcoming foreclosure sale scheduled for Sept. 1, 2020 is postponed. The sale may be rescheduled on Oct. 6, 2020 if public health officials determine that a foreclosure sale with a large crowd will not result in a threat to the health and safety of those in attendance due to an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19.

August 10, 2020:

On August 8, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The Disaster Declaration, originally issued on March 13 and renewed on April 12, May 13, June 11, and July 10, provides the state with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. (According to Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, a state of disaster may not continue for more than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor).

August 6, 2020:

(Dallas County): On August 4, 2020, Dallas County Judge Clay issued Supplemental Order on Requirements for Food Processing Plants After Expiration of Stay Home, Stay Safe. The Order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. on August 4, 2020. All food manufacturing and processing plants, including meat and poultry processing facilities, fruit and vegetable plants, dairy plants, and other food and beverage plants must adhere to OSHA and CDC guidelines, and must follow the Rules for Food Preparation and Processing Plants set forth by the Order.

Key provisions include:

  • Food preparation and processing plants shall implement a system whereby all employees take their temperature at home and upon arriving at work are screened for associated Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Food preparation and processing plants shall regularly and frequently clean and disinfect any regularly touched surfaces, such as restrooms, doorknobs, tables, and chairs;
  • To the greatest extent possible,
    • All employees should wear face coverings
    • Food preparation and processing plants shall implement a system by which all employees maintain at least 6 feet separation from one another and other individuals

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, the Dallas County Fire Marshal’s Office, and other peace officers, are hereby authorized to enforce this Order. A violation of this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000.

On August 4, 2020, Dallas County Judge Clay issued Amended Order Regarding Long-Term Care Facilities. The Order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. on August 4, 2020. This Order applies to all Long-Term Care Facilities, including Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities, and Nursing in Dallas County, Texas.

The Order mandates that If a resident of a one of these facilities is identified with a COVID-19 diagnosis, the Facility must make several notifications and then submit proof of the completion of all notifications to Dallas County Health and Human Services within six business hours of the identification of a resident’s diagnosis of COVID-19.

The Order requires that the following parties be notified in the case of a COVID-19 diagnosis:

  • All staff of the Facility,
  • All residents of the Facility,
  • Family members and responsible parties of all residents,
  • The Dallas County Probate Courts,
  • The public; by posting a notice at the main entrance of the facility and on the Facility local web page.

The Order also requires that any Facility with a resident diagnosed with COVID-19 be closed to new admissions and also close all services.

(Houston): On August 5, 2020, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston City Council approved a $20 million rent relief package to help Houstonians who cannot pay rent due to economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

Criteria to qualify for rental relief program:

  • Must live in the City of Houston and be behind on rent payments for August or prior months and cannot pay the rent due to economic challenges caused by COVID-19
  • Even if only one tenant in an apartment complex qualifies for rental assistance, the no eviction rule applies to all tenants on the property

Mayor Turner is also asking the landlords to waive late fees and interest on late payments, agree to a payment plan and refrain from evictions through Sept. 2020.

On August 5, 2020, Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council members approved the new More Space program to help restaurants accommodate more customers while maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The More Space program is effective on August 5, 2020.

The program will include the following guidelines:

  • Allow each restaurant to convert up to 50% of its off-street parking to space for serving food (serving only, not food storage or preparation).
  • This program would be entirely voluntary. Restaurants may opt-in but not be required to participate.
  • Social distancing rules (6-foot spacing) would still apply.
  • Driveway access, pedestrian access, and ADA-spaces must remain. The program will last through COVID-19 space restrictions.
  • The overall program and/or individual sites will be revocable at any time if safety concerns are identified.

Restaurant owners who would like to participate must submit a Notification Form.

August 5, 2020:

On August 5, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced that the federal government has further extended the deadline to apply for the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. The deadline has now been extended to Aug. 28, 2020 for Medicaid and CHIP providers as the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, starting August 10, 2020, Medicare providers can apply for additional funding from the $20 billion portion of the $50 billion Phase 1 Medicare General Distribution. Governor Abbott and HHSC previously announced an extended deadline for this funding to August 3rd.

(Dallas County): On August 4, 2020, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a Supplemental Order on Businesses and Face Coverings After Expiration of Stay Home, Stay Safe. The Order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. on August 4, 2020, unless modified, amended, or rescinded, and it extends the previous Supplemental Order Continuing Requirements After Expiration of Stay Home, Stay Safe issued on June 19, 2020. The Order requires all commercial businesses in Dallas County “to develop, post, and implement a health and safety policy.” The policy must at least require all employees and customers to wear face coverings while inside the businesses premises or other facilities. The health and safety policy must be posted in a conspicuous location to put all employees and customers on notice.

The Order also requires all members of the general public, aged 10 and older, to wear face coverings when in commercial businesses or when working in a commercial business in close proximity to others.

The Order provides six exceptions. Face coverings are not required:

  • When exercising outside or engaging in physical activity outside;
  • While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
  • When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk;
  • While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment;
  • While in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening, for example, banks; or
  • When consuming food or drink.

Consistent with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-29, local law enforcement and other local officials can enforce this order. Following a verbal or written warning for a first-time violator, a person’s second violation, shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.

On August 4, 2020, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a Supplemental Order on Continuing Requirements After Expiration of Stay Home, Stay Safe. The Order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. on August 4, 2020, unless modified, amended, or rescinded.

The Order states:

  • All Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Recovery Payments to individuals shall be exempt from “garnishment” as that term is described in Chapter 63 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, except for garnishment for child support payments. All CARE Act Payments shall remain exempt from garnishment when deposited into an account in a financial institution.
  • All public, private, and commercial laboratories operating within Dallas County and performing COVID-19 testing shall report by 5:00 p.m. each day for the prior 24-hour period: the number of COVID-19 tests performed; and the number of positive COVID-19 tests.
  • Employers, excluding hospitals and healthcare providers, shall not implement any rules making a negative COVID-19 test or a note from a healthcare provider a requirement before a COVID-19 recovered employee can return to work.
  • No person shall sell any of the following goods or services for more than the regular retail price the person charged for the goods or services on March 16, 2020, except where an increased retail price is the result of increased supplier or other costs (including the loss of supplier supporting funds):
    • groceries, beverages, toilet articles, and ice;
    • restaurant, cafeteria, and boarding-house meals;
    • medicine, pharmaceutical and medical equipment, and supplies.
  • All delivery hour restrictions are suspended for transport to or from any entity involved in the selling or distribution of food products, medicine, or medical supplies in Dallas County for the next 60 days.
  • If someone in a household has tested positive for coronavirus, the household is ordered to isolate at home.
  • Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities are instructed by this Order to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation.
  • Public and private schools and institutions of higher education are instructed by this Order to provide a safety plan to Dallas County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 72 hours before students return to a classroom setting.
  • Employees of private businesses and nonprofits with six (6) or more employees in the City of Dallas can use their paid sick leave when they are sick or to care for sick family members.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, the Dallas County Fire Marshal’s Office, and other peace officers, are hereby authorized to enforce this Order. A violation of this order may be punishable through criminal or civil enforcement. A violation of this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000.

August 4, 2020:

(Houston): Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that he has directed the Houston Police Department to issue warnings and citations to anyone not wearing a face mask or face covering required by the state's mandatory mask order. Police will not ticket those who are not wearing a mask if they meet the exemption criteria. The citation carries a $250 fine.

July 30, 2020:

On July 30, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is extending flexibilities to Medicaid and CHIP recipients and providers through October 23, 2020, as the state continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These flexibilities will minimize face-to-face interactions and ensure continuity of care for clients during the COVID-19 response.

Flexibilities extended through October 23, 2020, include:

  • Appeals and fair hearings: Extends timelines for clients to request an appeal fair hearing and allows clients to request an appeal verbally.
  • Face-to-face requirements: Suspends face-to-face service coordination, case management visits, and utilization review home visits for Medicaid clients. All managed care plans must use telehealth for service coordination and service planning to ensure clients are receiving needed services.
  • Provider enrollment requirements: Suspends requirements that out-of-state providers be licensed in the state where they are providing services when they are licensed in another state; and allows licensed providers to render services outside of their state of enrollment.
  • Assessments: Extends certain assessments and service plans.
  • Telemedicine and telehealth: Allows certain services to be delivered remotely.

July 27, 2020:

On July 24, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) urged eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers to apply for federal COVID-19 relief funds before the August 3 deadline. Up to $15 billion from CARES Act Provider Relief Fund is available to eligible providers.

(Travis County): On July 22, 2020, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe issued County Judge Order No. 2020-15 Relating to Notices to Vacate, Eviction Proceedings in response to COVID-19. This Order extends the prohibition of eviction proceedings to September 30th unless terminated or modified by a subsequent order.

(Bexar County): On July 17, 2020, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued a Supplemental Order to Executive Order NW-13 with the additional measure taking effect as of 1:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17 and expiring as of the date and time of NW-13 unless extended, modified or terminated early by Judge Wolff.

Key measures include:

  • No person shall visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities unless to provide critical services as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission or other relevant state authority.
  • Excluding those individuals providing critical services, any individual providing non-critical ln-person services or who is otherwise employed or staffs a long-term care facility (e.g. nursing home, or assisted living facility) and has direct patient contact shall be prohibited from working in, or visiting, more than (1) long-term care facility for any purpose as a result of the increased risk for transmission of COVID-19 to an at-risk population

(San Antonio): On July 17, 2020, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued a sixth addendum to his Eighth Emergency Health Declaration that includes language issued by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff related to long-term care facilities and prohibits individuals from working in, or visiting, more than (1) long-term care facility unless they are providing critical care services or otherwise excepted by guidance issued by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission or other relevant state authority. The addendum also more closely mirrors language used within Governor Abbott's executive orders and related amendments. It is effective indefinitely.

July 22, 2020:

(Hidalgo County): Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez issued a new shelter-at-home order on July 20, 2020, effective on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 12:01am and remaining in effect until 11:59p.m. on Wednesday, August 5, 2020. However, Governor Greg Abbott's office denied the order’s enforceability, characterizing the Hidalgo County order as simply a recommendation for people to stay home. Under Abbott’s current statewide orders, local governments cannot enforce their own stay-at-home orders.

While the order may not be legally enforceable, it includes the following directives:

  • Encourages and recommends that all commercial businesses operating within Hidalgo County cease all activities at facilities that may not be provided by curbside, drive-through, or take-out services.
  • Imposes curfew for all persons aged eighteen (18) and over from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., with exceptions for medical emergencies and essential services.
  • Requires every person to wear a face covering when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space.
  • Prohibits any outdoor gathering of ten or more people unless the Mayor of the City in which the gathering is held or the Hidalgo County Judge approves it (if in an unincorporated area).
  • Limits outdoor gatherings and outdoor venues to fifty percent capacity.

July 16, 2020:

(Bexar County): On Wednesday, July 15, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued Executive Order NW-13. The Order continues the local disaster declaration for Bexar County and incorporates the most recent Executive Order GA-29 issued by Governor Greg Abbott. The Order expires on August 12, 2020. Key provisions in the Order include:

  • All commercial entities providing goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy. The policy must require, at a minimum, that all employees or visitors to the business premises or other facilities wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public where six feet of separation is not feasible.
  • Every person 10 years old or older shall wear a face covering when inside a commercial entity or other building or open space to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of separation. Following a verbal or written warning for a first-time violator of this face covering requirement, a person's second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250.
  • Commercial entities must prominently display a list of COVID-19 symptoms at or near the public and employee entrances of the premises.
  • All large gatherings or events estimated to be in excess of 10 people, whether indoor or outdoor, are prohibited.

July 15, 2020:

On July 15, Governor Abbott announced that his Public Safety Office has secured $41M in federal funds to assist in COVID-19 response efforts. The funds can be used “by local units of governments for first responder overtime and hazard pay; equipment and supplies supporting teleworking technologies, social distancing and personal protective gear; county jail costs associated with the medical needs of inmates as well as reimbursement for holding inmates awaiting transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.” The funds will be issued in rounds. The first round of funds ($7M) will be distributed this week.

(City of Austin): On July 14, Interim Medical Director and Health Authority Mark Escott adopted Emergency Rules (the Rules) as authorized by Ordinance 20200709-003. Austin City Council unanimously passed this ordinance on July 9. The new Rules notably create a $2,000 fine, per offense, for failure to wear a mask. Additionally, any business that fails to comply with state and local health orders will be declared a nuisance and will be subject to civil suits and penalties. The Rules were effective on July 14 and expire on November 12 unless withdrawn or rewritten.

(City of Austin and Travis County): Dr. Escott also issued a Health Authority Order (the Order) on July 14. The Order requires all Independent School Districts and Private Schools operating in Travis County (pre-K through 12th grade) to defer face-to-face instruction until after September 7. All athletics and extracurricular activities may not resume until in-person operations resume. School districts may conduct virtual learning at their own discretion. The Order was issued under Dr. Escott’s authority as Medical Director for Austin Public Health and Health Authority for the City of Austin and Travis County.

July 14, 2020:

On July 13, Governor Abbott announced that the “U.S. Department of Defense has activated additional U.S. Army Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UAMTF) to assist the state's efforts to combat COVID-19.” One UAMTF arrived in Bexar County on July 6, and a second team arrived in Houston on July 13. The UAMTFs provide much needed medical resources—including doctors, nurses, and support staff—to help relieve pressure on hospitals. As of July 12, ICUs in Houston’s Texas Medical Center were running at 103% capacity. The collaboration with the federal government is ongoing, with other federal resources ready to deploy to other locations in Texas based on needs assessments.

July 13, 2020:

On July 10, Governor Abbott issued a Proclamation renewing the Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The Disaster Declaration, originally issued on March 13 and renewed on April 12, May 13, and June 11, provides the state with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. (According to Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, a state of disaster may not continue for more than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor.)

(City of Austin): On July 9, Austin City Council unanimously passed two ordinances creating penalties for not following state orders related to COVID-19. One ordinance creates a $2,000 fine, per offense, for failure to wear a mask. There are limited exceptions to this rule, including children under the age of 10. The second ordinance declares properties that fail to comply with state and local health orders a nuisance, subjecting them to civil suits and penalties. Neither ordinance is final, and the earliest they could go into effect is July 14. Governor Abbott expresses his support for these enforcement measures in a Letter to Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

July 9, 2020:

Governor Abbott issued a Proclamation amending Executive Order GA-27. The Proclamation expands the number of counties required to postpone all non-essential surgeries and procedures indefinitely to preserve hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients to include:

  • All counties within Trauma Service Area J: Andrews, Brewster, Crane, Ector, Glasscock, Howard, Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area K: Coke, Concho, Crockett, Irion, Kimble, Mason, McCulloch, Menard, Reagan, Runnels, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, and Tom Green counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area M: Bosque, Falls, Hill, Limestone, and McLennan counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area O that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27: Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, San Saba, and Williamson counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area P that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27: Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, La Salle, Maverick, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde, Wilson, and Zavala counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area Q that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27: Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area R: Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, and Orange counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area S: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, and Victoria counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area T that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27: Jim Hogg and Zapata counties;
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area U that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27: Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, McMullen, Refugio, and San Patricio counties; and
  • All counties within Trauma Service Area V that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27: Starr and Willacy counties.

Procedures that do not reduce a hospital’s capacity to treat COVID-19 patients are specifically exempted. The Proclamation is effective July 9, and will remain in full effect as long as Executive Order GA-27 is effective.

July 7, 2020:

(Lubbock County): On July 6, in direct response to Governor Abbott’s Proclamation amending Executive Order GA-28, Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish issued a Proclamation explicitly allowing all outdoor gatherings in excess of 10 people. The Proclamation encourages, but does not require, Lubbock County citizens to follow CDC guidelines. The Proclamation only applies to unincorporated territory in the county. City of Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope publicly stated that the city would evaluate gatherings over 10 people on a case-by-case basis.

July 6, 2020:

On July 2, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-29 (the Order) relating to the use of face coverings. The Order requires every person to wear a face covering when inside commercial buildings and outdoor areas where social distancing is not possible and is applicable to every Texas county with 20 or more positive cases. Notable exceptions to this Order include:

  • Children under the age of 10;
  • Anyone consuming food or drink, or seated at a restaurant;
  • Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election; and
  • Any person who is providing or obtaining access to religious worship

The Order expressly applies to any person attending a protest with more than 10 people in attendance, where social distancing is not feasible. A first-time violation of the Order will result in a warning, and any subsequent violations carry a fine not to exceed $250 per violation. Executive Order GA-28 is amended to remove paragraph number 15, which prohibited the imposition of fines for violations for failure to wear a face covering. At least one attorney is preparing to challenge the order, and the Houston Police Officers’ Union president referred to the Order as a “draconian mask law.” The Order will remain in effect until modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the governor.

Also on July 2, Governor Abbott issued a Proclamation (the Proclamation) extending the Disaster Declaration and expressly amending Executive Order GA-28. The Proclamation grants mayors and county judges the power to impose local restrictions on any outdoor gatherings over 10 people. The Proclamation additionally requires groups to maintain six feet social distancing from people outside their group. The Proclamation will remain in effect as long as GA-28 is in effect unless modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the governor.

(City of Austin): On July 3, Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued Order No. 20200702-017 (the Order) prohibiting outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people and requiring face masks to be warn when in public or when outside and unable to socially distance. The Order is effective as of 12:01 pm on July 3 and extends through August 15. The Order echoes the requirements laid out in Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders GA-28 (as amended) and GA-29.

(Harris County): On July 3, Harris County Judge issued a new Order (the Order) prohibiting outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people and requiring face masks to be warn when in public or when outside and unable to socially distance. The Order is effective on July 3 and extends through August 26. The Order contains specific provisions for the Independence Day weekend, including:

  • “Fireworks displays that were permitted in Unincorporated Harris County AND are viewed from inside a motor vehicle are permitted;
  • Fireworks displays/gathering with more than 100 people being viewed from OUTSIDE a motor vehicle are PROHIBITED”

The Order echoes the requirements laid out in Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders GA-28 (as amended) and GA-29.

(City of San Antonio): San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg issued the Fifth Addendum to 8th Declaration of Public Health Emergency (the Order). The Order requires all businesses to prominently display a list of COVID-19 symptoms at or near employee and public entrances. The Order acknowledges and adopts Bexar County Executive Order NW-10, and Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders GA-27 and GA-28.

June 30, 2020:

Governor Abbott issued a Proclamation amending Executive Order GA-27 (the Order). The Proclamation adds Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces, and Webb counties to the list of counties required to postpone all non-essential surgeries and procedures indefinitely to preserve hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients. The four counties added by the Proclamation cover the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the City of Laredo (along the U.S.–Mexico border), and the City of Corpus Christi, all of which have been hit particularly hard in recent weeks. Procedures that do not reduce a hospital’s capacity to treat COVID-19 patients are specifically exempted from the Order. The Proclamation is effective July 1, and will remain in full effect as long as Executive Order GA-27 is effective.

June 29, 2020:

On June 26 Governor Abbott signed Executive Order GA-28 temporarily halting the reopening of Texas. The Order addresses the sustained positivity rate of over 10% and a continued increase in hospitalizations across the State. Key provisions in the Order include:

  • All bars and establishments that receive 51% or more of their gross income from alcoholic beverages are required to close, effective 12:00 p.m. on June 26;
  • Restaurants may not exceed 50% occupancy for indoor services, effective June 29;
  • All tubing and rafting businesses must close immediately;
  • All outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments.

The Order expressly supersedes Executive Order GA-26. The Order will remain in effect until modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the governor.

(Harris County): On June 26, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a new Stay Home Work Safe Advisory. The Advisory moves Harris County into Level 1 (Red), which means that “outbreaks are present and worsening and that testing and contact tracing capacity is strained or exceeded.” The Advisory recommends that all residents stay home for all but the most essential needs. The Advisory stops short of a stay at home order, which can only be issued by Governor Abbott.

(Travis County): On June 25, Travis County Judge Samuel Briscoe issued County Judge Order 2020-13 regarding gatherings of individuals. The Order prohibits outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people. This is consistent with Governor Abbot’s proclamation allowing local jurisdictions to place restrictions on gatherings of more than 100 people.

(Bexar County): On June 25, Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff issued Executive Order NW-11. The Order is effective June 25 and extends through July 15, unless modified, amended, or rescinded. The Order prohibits outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people. This is consistent with Governor Abbot’s proclamation allowing local jurisdictions to place restrictions on gatherings of more than 100 people and mirrors the Addendum to 8th Declaration of Public Health Emergency Regarding COVID-19 issued by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on June 24.

(City of San Antonio): On June 24, San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg issued the Addendum to 8th Declaration of Public Health Emergency Regarding COVID-19. The Order prohibits outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people. This is consistent with Governor Abbot’s proclamation allowing local jurisdictions to place restrictions on gatherings of more than 100 people.

June 25, 2020:

Governor Abbott signed Executive Order GA-27 (the Order), effective June 25, which addresses the growing need for hospital capacity in Texas. The Order requires all hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to postpone all non-essential surgeries and procedures indefinitely. Procedures that do not reduce a hospital’s capacity to treat COVID-19 patients are specifically exempted from the Order. The Order comes several days after Texas Children’s Hospital announced they would receive adult patients to alleviate the strain on other hospitals in the Houston area. While initially limited to the four major metropolitan areas, Governor Abbott announced that, if necessary, he will add or subtract from the list via proclamation.

June 24, 2020:

On Tuesday, June 23, Governor Abbott issued a proclamation amending Executive Order GA-26 relating to the reopening of Texas. Per the proclamation, county judges and mayors may now, in consultation with local public health authorities, impose additional restrictions on outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people. This is a substantive decrease from the previous order, which allowed restrictions on outdoor gatherings of 500 or more people.

Governor Abbott additionally directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to enact emergency rules to improve health and safety in child care centers. In a statement, Governor Abbott directed HHSC to implement a “statewide standard of infection control for childcare centers.” This comes a little more than a week after emergency safety rules for child care centers were repealed, making all safety precautions optional.

June 23, 2020:

(Austin): On June 22, Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued Order No. 20200622-015 effective June 22 and continuing through August 15. The 21-page Order expressly supersedes previous Order Nos. 20200615-013 and 20200617-014, and includes extensive new details and requirements. Notable additions include:

  • Businesses, but not individuals, are subject to civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with the face covering orders;
  • If anyone in a household is awaiting results or a COVID-19 test, or tests positive for COVID-19, the entire household must isolate and not leave the City of Austin, with limited exceptions;
  • Expands guidance on face covering behaviors for individuals and businesses;
  • Requires individuals over the age of six to wear face coverings at City Facilities;
  • Provides extensions for all deadlines and expiration dates for “site plans, subdivisions, zoning, building permits, and similar development applications or permits” until at least August 15;
  • Requires daily testing data reports from Hospitals, Pharmacies, and Clinics, specifically including antibody tests; and
  • Encourages all retail, restaurant die-in, and reopened services to maintain contact activity laws for one-month.

The Order is consistent with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-26 and the Governor’s Open Texas Checklists for Phase Three of the plan to reopen Texas.

June 22, 2020:

The following Texas Counties have mandatory face mask orders as of June 22, 2020:

  • Bexar
  • Cameron
  • Dallas
  • El Paso
  • Harris
  • Hays
  • Hidalgo
  • Travis

(Harris County): On June 19, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued an Order Regarding Health and Safety Policy and Face Coverings. The Order is effective June 22, 2020 and extends through June 30, 2020 unless modified, amended, or rescinded. The Order requires all commercial businesses in Harris County “to develop, post, and implement a health and safety policy.” The policy must require, at a minimum, all employees and customers to wear face coverings while inside the businesses premises or other facilities. The health and safety policy must be posted in a conspicuous location to put all employees and customers on notice.

The Order also requires all members of the general public, aged 10 and older, to wear face coverings when in commercial businesses or when working in a commercial business in close proximity to others.

The Order provides six exceptions. Face coverings are not required:

  • When exercising outside or engaging in physical activity outside;
  • While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
  • When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk;
  • While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment;
  • While in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening, for example, banks; or
  • When consuming food or drink.

The Order is consistent with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-26 related to Phase Three of the plan to reopen Texas and no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failure to wear a face covering.

(Dallas County): On June 19, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a Supplemental Order Continuing Requirements After Expiration of Stay Home, Stay Safe. The Order is effective June 19, 2020 and extends through August 4, 2020 unless modified, amended, or rescinded. The Order requires all commercial businesses in Dallas County “to develop, post, and implement a health and safety policy.” The policy must at least require all employees and customers to wear face coverings while inside the businesses premises or other facilities. The health and safety policy must be posted in a conspicuous location to put all employees and customers on notice.

The Order also requires all members of the general public, aged 10 and older, to wear face coverings when in commercial businesses or when working in a commercial business in close proximity to others.

The Order provides six exceptions. Face coverings are not required:

  • When exercising outside or engaging in physical activity outside;
  • While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
  • When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk;
  • While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment;
  • While in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening, for example, banks; or
  • When consuming food or drink.

The Order is consistent with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-26 related to Phase Three of the plan to reopen Texas and no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failure to wear a face covering.

June 18, 2020:

(Austin): On June 17, Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued Order No. 20200617-014, effective today and through August 15, requiring that all businesses in the City of Austin providing goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy or plan related to COVID-19 by June 23.The health and safety policy or plan must require, at a minimum, that all employees and visitors wear face coverings while on the business’s premises or other facilities. The health and safety policy or plan must be posted in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors.

There are some exceptions to the Order. A mask is not required when:

  • Alone in a single, separate space
  • Among people of the same household
  • Eating or drinking in a restaurant or a bar
  • Outdoors engaging in an allowed activity with social distancing
  • Wearing a mask poses a safety or health risk

Governor Abbott signaled his approval for such orders by approving of the similar Bexar County Order (Executive Order NW-10) that requires businesses to mandate masks for workers and customers.

June 17, 2020:

(Bexar County): Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued Executive Order NW-10 on June 17 directing businesses in Bexar County to require employees and customers to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible. The Order states that, through the end of June, businesses in Bexar County have until Monday to start requiring face coverings "where six feet of separation is not feasible" before the businesses risk facing a fine of up to $1,000. Consistent with Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-26, the Bexar County Order clarifies that "no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failure to wear a face covering."

June 16, 2020:

On June 11, 2020, Governor Abbott issued a proclamation renewing his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The Disaster Declaration, originally issued on March 12 and renewed on April 12 and May 13, provides the state with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. (According to Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, a state of disaster may not continue for more than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor.)

June 15, 2020:

(City of Austin): On June 15, Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued Order No. 20200615-013 (the “Order”), which extends the City’s social distancing and other requirements through August 15. Mayor Adler extended the Order since, as it stated, “the seven-day average rate of hospitalizations has exceed 20 per day, putting Travis County into Stage 4 emergency status, and the number of new cases confirmed daily continues to show an upward trajectory and is expected by the local Health Authority to continue rising.” Under the Order, socializing in groups of more than 10 individuals is prohibited, subject to certain exceptions, and other social distancing measures are also required.

Consistent with Governor Abbott’s executive orders, the Order does not impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering. Under the Order, all deadlines and expiration dates for City of Austin site plans, subdivisions, zoning, building permits, and similar development applications or permits are extended until August 15, or the date they would have normally expired, whichever is later. The Order also imposes extra requirements for construction work sites.

(Travis County): On June 12, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe issued Order No. 2020097196, which is similar to the City of Austin order dated June 15. As with the City of Austin order, the County Order requires the continuation of social distancing and other preventative measures through August 15.

June 11, 2020:

(Austin): At a press conference, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Austin’s Stay Home – Work Safe Order (Order No. 20200529-012), which includes a mandate to wear face coverings in public, would likely be extended before its expiration on June 15.

June 10, 2020:

(Harris County): Harris County’s Fourth Amended Stay Home, Work Safe Order expired on June 10, 2020. A representative of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said that an announcement about the future of the stay at home mandates will be made in the next couple of days and that there would likely be a new order, not an extension of the existing order.

June 5, 2020:

(San Antonio, Bexar County): The stay at home orders for San Antonio an Bexar County have expired. After Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-26 on Wednesday, which set forth guidelines for Phase Three of the plan to reopen Texas, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said they would let the local orders expire as scheduled on Thursday, June 4.

June 4, 2020:

On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-26 which set forth Phase Three of the plan to reopen Texas. Under Phase Three, effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with limited exceptions. The timeline of when businesses will be allowed to reopen and at what capacity is as follows:

June 3:

  • All businesses currently operating at 25% capacity can expand their occupancy to 50% with certain exceptions.
  • Bars and similar establishments may increase their capacity to 50% as long as patrons are seated.
  • Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases may open at 50% capacity.
  • Restaurants may expand their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.

June 12:

  • Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75%.
  • Counties with 10 or less active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75%.

June 19:

  • Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity.

The Order encourages Texans to continue to use precautionary measures, including wearing face coverings, avoiding being in groups of more than 10, and not visiting nursing homes or similar facilities.

Minimum standard health protocols are recommended by the Texas Department of State Health Services for reopened services under Phase Three. For a full list of guidelines and protocols applicable to the service, see the Open Texas Checklists.

June 1, 2020:

(Austin): On May 29, 2020, Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued Order No. 20200529-012 (the “Order”), which extends Austin’s Stay at Home order through June 15. The Order requires individuals to stay at home or at their place of residence and to practice social distancing and face covering behaviors, subject to certain exceptions. The Order also requires all businesses or operations with facilities in the City of Austin, except Reopened Services, Essential Businesses, Essential Government Services, or Critical Infrastructure, to cease all activities within the City, except for Minimum Basic Operations, although Reopened Services and “Covered Services,” as defined in Governor Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-23 and related supplemental order, may operate in compliance with certain limitations.

May 28, 2020:

Governor Abbott issued another proclamation expanding additional services and activities that can open under Phase Two of the plan to reopen Texas as set forth in the Governor’s Executive Order GA-23. Per the proclamation, for all Texas counties except Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter, and Randall Counties, outdoor motorsports events may resume at up to 25% of normal operating limits if they operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing. Beginning Sunday, May 31, all professional sporting events may resume provided that they: (i) operate at up to 25% of the normal operating limits as determined by the venue owner for outdoor events or, for indoor events, with no spectators physically present on the premises of the venue; (ii) operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing; and (iii) submit a plan to Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) that incorporates minimum standard health protocols recommended by DSHS as applicable.

Minimum standard health protocols are recommended by the DSHS for reopened services under Phase Two. For a full list of guidelines and protocols applicable to the service, see the Open Texas Checklists.

May 27, 2020:

On Tuesday, Governor Abbott issued a proclamation expanding additional services and activities that can open under Phase Two of the plan to reopen Texas as set forth in the Governor’s Executive Order GA-23. Per the proclamation, driver education programs and food-court dining areas within shopping malls can resume operations immediately. Malls are encouraged to designate one or more individuals who are responsible for ensuring the recommended health and safety protocols are followed, including: limiting tables to six individuals; maintaining a six-feet distance between individuals sitting at different tables; cleaning and disinfecting tables between uses; and ensuring no condiments or other items are left on tables between customer uses. On Friday, May 29, water parks can open but must limit their occupancy to 25% of normal operating limits, and components of these water parks that have video arcades must remain closed. On Sunday, May 31, recreational sports programs for adults can resume, but games and similar competitions may not begin until June 15.

Minimum standard health protocols are recommended by the Texas Department of State Health Services for reopened services under Phase Two. For a full list of guidelines and protocols applicable to the service, see the Open Texas Checklists.

May 26, 2020:

On May 22, Governor Abbott announced that the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is extending payment deadlines for designated reimbursing employers that are required to pay a share of unemployment benefits. Designated reimbursing employers include non-profits, local governments, school districts and other qualifying employers who reimburse the TWC for the full amount of unemployment benefits paid to former employees. The due date for the June 1 payment will be delayed until December 31, 2020. The interest and penalty charges will be waived, but the payment amount will not be reduced or eliminated. The extension also does not delay or prevent those who qualify for unemployment benefits from receiving them.

On May 21, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-24 ending air travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order immediately terminates all restrictions in the Governor's previous Executive Order GA-20 that mandated temporary quarantines for air travelers arriving from the following places: California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; or Miami, Florida.

(Harris County): On May 21, Harris County issued its Fourth Amended Stay Home, Work Safe Order extending the County’s stay at home mandates until June 10. The Order requires all residents to stay home unless providing or obtaining a “Covered Service” as defined by Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-23. Harris County also released reopening guidance for the construction industry and retail businesses.

May 20, 2020:

Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-23 on May 18 detailing the plans for Phase Two to Open Texas. Under the Order, the following “Covered Services” may open under Phase Two:

  • Gyms / Exercise Facilities (May 18)
  • Manufacturers (May 18)
  • Office-Based Employers (May 18)
  • Child Care Centers (May 18)
  • Massage and Personal-Care Centers (May 18)
  • Youth Clubs (May 18)
  • Rodeo and Equestrian Events (May 22)
  • Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, and Skating Rinks (May 22)
  • Bars (May 22)
  • Aquariums and Natural Caverns (May 22)
  • Zoos (May 29)
  • Day Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Overnight Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Youth Sports (May 31)
  • Certain professional sports without in-person spectators (May 31)

Covered Services under Phase II are subject to certain occupancy limits and health and safety protocols. For a full list of guidelines and protocols applicable to the service, see the Open Texas Checklists.

(City of San Antonio, Bexar County): On May 19, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued Orders to supplement their existing Stay Home, Work Safe measures and extend them through June 4, 2020. The updates require all residents to stay home unless working or using a “Covered Service” as defined by Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-23. The Orders also strongly encourage residents to wear masks in public, and employers that qualify as Covered Services are strongly encouraged to provide face coverings to employees where six feet of separation from other individuals is not feasible.

May 18, 2020:

The next wave of business reopenings under Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-21 began today, allowing gyms, nonessential manufacturing, and work offices to reopen at 25% capacity with social distancing guidelines.

Governor Abbott held a press conference today detailing the next phase of reopening Texas. The Governor announced that childcare facilities, youth club services, and massage, personal care, and beauty services can reopen starting immediately The Governor also said that bars, wine tasting rooms, breweries, bowling alleys, skating rinks, zoos, and aquariums can resume operations on May 22 at 25% capacity. Restaurants opened in the previous phase can expand to 50% occupancy on May 22. Youth camps and some professional sports, including golf, auto racing, baseball, softball, tennis, football, and basketball, can return on May 31. Schools can offer summer school starting June 1.

Governor Abbott also stated that some counties will be delayed in entering phase two, including El Paso, Randall, Potter, Moore and Deaf Smith Counties, because of the continued increase of infections in those areas.

May 13, 2020:

Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation on Tuesday extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The Disaster Declaration, originally issued on March 13 and extended on April 12, provides the state with resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, the office of the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote letters to officials in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas warning that their local stay at home orders that impose greater restrictions than Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-21 are unenforceable. Among the local mandates identified in the letters as unlawful are the requirement to wear masks in public, the requirement to shelter in place, and restrictions on essential or reopened services. Additionally, the letter stated that the San Antonio mandate requiring essential businesses to provide masks to employees is invalid.

(Harris County): On May 8, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a Third Amended Stay Home, Work Safe Order, amended to include the phased reopening of services consistent with Governor Abbott’s Order.

(Dallas County): On May 8, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a Supplemental Order, which incorporates the phased reopening of services consistent with Governor Abbott’s Order. Judge Jenkins also issued a letter to law offices stating that they may not open yet, which the Texas Attorney General described as invalid.

May 8, 2020:

(City of Austin, Travis County): Austin and Travis County extended their stay at home mandates which were set to expire today. Austin's Order extends the stay-at home mandates until May 30, while Travis County's Order extends them until June 15. The Orders extend the requirement to social distance, minimize public gatherings, and wear facial coverings in public, but provide that no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed for failure to wear a face covering. Both Orders contain a new exception for reopened services consistent with Governor Abbott’s Order. The Travis County Order also includes as an exhibit the initial recommendations of the Opening Central Texas for Business Task Force released by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber convened the task force in response to a request by Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt to create a set of policy recommendations to guide the reopening of businesses in Central Texas.

May 7, 2020:

Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-22 to allow the immediate reopening of cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons or shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade. In addition, the Order amended all previous Orders to eliminate confinement in jail for violation of the orders. No jurisdiction can confine a person in jail for violating any order by local officials, and the new Executive Order supersedes any order by local officials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that would allow confinement in jail. The order is retroactive to April 2.

May 6, 2020:

Governor Greg Abbott issued a new Executive Order to expand openings of certain businesses and activities. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the Governor also announced new guidance from the Texas Education Agency on graduation ceremonies and the creation of Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare ups in Texas.

Per the Governor’s new Order, wedding venues and services required to conduct weddings may immediately open. Weddings held indoors other than at a church, congregation, or house of worship must limit occupancy to 25%.

Beginning May 8, cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, tanning salons, and nail salons may open, but must ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing between operating work stations. Also starting May 8, swimming pools may open subject to certain limitations.

Beginning May 18, office buildings may open with the greater of 5 or less individuals or 25% of the total office workforce but must maintain appropriate social distancing. Gyms, exercise facilities, and exercise classes may also open on May 18 but must operate at 25% occupancy. Non-essential manufacturing services may also open on May 18 but must limit their occupancy to 25%.

May 5, 2020:

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a Supplemental Order Monday to make Governor Abbott's recommendations for reopening businesses to now be requirements in Dallas County. Among the recommendations that are now requirements is that people wear facial coverings when visiting or working in businesses. Additionally, to the extent that Governor Abbott’s plan to Open Texas recommends minimum standard health protocols, those are requirements in Dallas County. Judge Jenkins told NBC 5 that the County doesn't plan to fine individuals, but that code inspectors could fine businesses.

The City of Dallas established a small business continuity fund for small business owners in Dallas who have seen a 25% or more loss in revenue due to COVID-19. Applications for the fund will be available through May 11 and can be found online.

The City of Austin issued a press release clarifying that the Austin-Travis County Stay Home - Work Safe Orders remain in effect with a new exception for reopened services consistent with Governor Abbott’s Order. Austin requires, to the extent feasible, that all persons maintain a 6-foot distance from others and use face coverings when engaging in essential daily activities and performing or obtaining essential and reopened services. Austin previously provided guidance and FAQs for businesses that have recently reopened or plan to reopen soon under the Governor’s Order.

May 4, 2020:

Austin’s Stay Home - Work Safe Order, set to expire on May 8, will be extended, according to Mayor Steve Adler. Adler did not say for how long the Order will be extended or when the City will issue the extension.

May 3, 2020:

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a new Stay-Home, Work-Safe Order. Under the new Order, all non-essential Harris County businesses and others that were not designated to reopen by Governor Abbott’s Executive Order must remain closed through May 20.

May 1, 2020:

The first phase of the Governor Abbott’s plan to Open Texas began today, allowing retail stores, restaurants, malls, and movie theaters to reopen at 25% capacity.

The Texas Workforce Commission issued new guidance to unemployment claimants concerning their eligibility for unemployment benefits should they refuse to return to work due to COVID-19. Under this guidance, Texans can continue to receive unemployment benefits throughout the COVID-19 response if they refuse rehire for any of the following reasons:

  • At High Risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Household member at high risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Diagnosed with COVID: The individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.
  • Family member with COVID: Anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.
  • Quarantined: Individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.
  • Child care: Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.

April 30, 2020:

San Antonio and Bexar County issued separate but joint Orders extending their Stay Home, Work Safe mandates through May 19. The measures that continue to be in effect include social distancing, the ban on gatherings outside of the household, and the requirement to wear face coverings. Consistent with Governor Abbott’s Order, essential services continue to remain open, with “reopened services” available to operate at 25% occupancy of those establishments, which include restaurants, movie theaters and retail. Employers that are essential services and reopened services must provide face coverings to employees whose work involves proximity to co-workers or the public where 6 feet separation from other individuals is not feasible.

April 29, 2020:

Governor Abbott suspended a statute concerning appearance before a notary public to acknowledge real-estate instruments such as mortgages. This suspension temporarily allows for appearance before a notary public via videoconference when executing such documents, avoiding the need for in-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. This suspension will remain in effect until the earlier of May 30, 2020, or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires.

April 28, 2020:

The Texas Department of State Health Services issued minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow which are outlined in the Governor's Report to Open Texas.

A copy of Governor Abbott’s Executive Order (GA-18), setting forth phase 1 for reopening businesses, has been made available online.

Governor Abbott relaxed certain restrictions related to health care professionals and issued amended requirements related to hospital capacity under Executive Order (GA-19), providing that:

  • All licensed health care professionals will be limited in their practice by, and must comply with, any emergency rules promulgated by their respective licensing agencies dictating minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID-19 disaster.
  • Hospitals must reserve at least 15% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Additionally, the Governor issued Executive Order (GA-20) which eliminates the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for individuals traveling from Louisiana. The mandated 14-day quarantine for travelers from the following areas remains in place: California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan, and Miami, Florida.

April 27, 2020:

Texas Governor Abbott announced his plan to gradually reopen more businesses in the state at a press conference today and released the Governor's Report to Open Texas. At the press conference, the Governor stated he would let the State’s stay at home Order expire as scheduled on April 30. Phase 1 of the plan to reopen businesses will begin on May 1. Under phase 1, all retail stores, restaurants, movies and malls will be able to reopen, but with only up to 25% occupancy. Governor Abbott said if the virus remains contained, phase 2 could begin by May 18. Phase 2 will allow more businesses, such as gyms, bars, and restaurants, to reopen and expand the capabilities of phase 1 businesses. Governor Abbott also allowed all licensed physicians to return to work with limited restrictions. Governor Abbott stated that his new executive order would supersede any local ordinances.

Starting today and for a period of 30 days, Houston and Harris County residents ages 10 and older must wear facial coverings in public. Harris County Judge Hidalgo announced the face covering Order last week.

April 24, 2020:

Dallas County’s Amended Order: Safer at Home went into effect at noon on April 23 and continues until May 15. In addition to extending the restrictions, the Amended Order removes language specifically prohibiting elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures anywhere in Dallas County to be consistent with the Governor’s Order. The Amended Order also adds language on “Reopened Services,” defined as retail services which are not essential businesses, which can reopen and provide services only through pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep. The Order provides rules for social distancing and hygiene requirements for Reopened Services consistent with the Governor’s Order.

At a news conference on April 21, after being asked about Dallas County’s vote to extend the restrictions, Governor Abbott said he would issue a new statewide executive order on April 27 that will feature some statewide requirements and “to the extent that [his] executive order has statewide application, it would overrule any local jurisdiction” with a conflicting local executive order.

April 22, 2020:

Dallas County has extended its stay at home order until May 15, 2020. The Order was set to expire on April 30. The extension has not yet been released.

April 19, 2020:

Montgomery County’s Judge Mark Keough announced that the stay-home order previously issued for the county has ended, and that the County is deferring to the Texas State Order. The termination order ends the “Stay Home, Stop the Spread” order which had been in place since March 27.

The Termination Order continues restrictions on nursing homes and senior care facilities, and adds additional local guidelines for businesses and individuals returning to work.

April 17, 2020:

Governor Greg Abbott announced today that state will form a “strike force” that will start working on a plan to re-open the Texas economy. He announced that state parks will reopen beginning April 20, although visitors to the parks must wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and cannot be in groups of more than five people.

Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA 16 establishes a temporary “Retail-To-Go” model that will allow retail outlets in Texas to reopen beginning Friday, April 24. Under this model, reopened establishments are required to deliver items to customer’s cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact.

Meanwhile, Executive Order GA 15 loosens restrictions on surgeries. Elective surgeries are now permitted if: (1) any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the PPE needed to cope with COVID-19; or (2) Any surgery or procedure performed in a licensed health care facility that has certified in writing to Texas HHSC both (a) that it will reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, and (b) that it will not request any PPE from any public source – whether federal, state, or local – for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster.

Governor Abbott will announce a revised plan for the state based on the strike force’s recommendations on April 27.

April 15, 2020:

A large number of Texas counties have extended their stay-at-home order through April 30. They are the following:

Jeff Davis County has extended its stay-at-home order through April 24, Hardin County has extended its stay-at-home order through May 1, San Patricio County has extended its stay-at-home order through May 4, and Jasper County has extended its stay-at-home order through May 10.

Three more counties, Gregg County, Harrison County, and Nacogdoches County, have stated that their orders will remain in effect until terminated.

A number of counties are additionally implementing orders that requiring individuals to wear face coverings in certain settings.

Meanwhile, Burnet County has rescinded its Stay in Place and Stay Safe Order “in order to avoid confusion in the community and to be consistent with the Governor’s Order.” Collin County has also rescinded its order.

April 14, 2020:

Travis County’s stay-at-home order, set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on April 13th, has been extended until 11:59 p.m. A key addition to the order extension is the requirement that the public wear fabric face coverings when conducting essential work or activities. Everyone over the age of ten must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public building, using public transportation or ride shares, pumping gas, and while outside when six feet of physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained.

A face covering is not required when eating, riding in a personal vehicle, alone in a separate single space, or in the presence of other members of your residence. Additionally, a face covering is not required when wearing one poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.

Travis County has also added fabric stores as an Essential Business, and they are permitted to open for the sole purpose of selling fabric and supplies necessary for the creation of fabric face masks.

Travis County has defined Essential Businesses as including healthcare operations, stores that sell groceries and other essential supplies, food cultivation, social services and charitable organizations, news media, fuel stations and businesses needed for transportation, financial institutions, hardware and supply stores, critical trades (such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and laundry), mail and delivery services, educational institutions, restaurants for consumption off-premises, businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home, businesses that supply services needed for Essential Businesses, Critical Infrastructure, and Essential Government Services, food delivery services, transportation, home-based care and services, residential facilities and shelters, licensed professional services, information technology and telecommunications services, childcare facilities, moving supply services, hotels and motel, funeral services, and religious services.

April 13, 2020:

(City of Austin): Austin’s stay-at-home order, set to expire at midnight tonight, will be extended, according to Mayor Steve Adler. The order is yet to be released. Austin’s current order provides exemptions for critical infrastructure (including airports, transit, and financial institutions), government buildings providing essential services, educational or childcare facilities, grocery stores and pharmacies, healthcare facilities, and homeless shelters or those that provide food to the indigent. The current order also has mandated that restaurants and bars close common spaces until May 1.

April 9, 2020:

Coryell County is the latest central Texas County to issue a stay-at-home order. The Order does not set forth its own definition of exempted businesses – rather, it states that businesses identified as Essential Critical Infrastructure by CISA shall “implement reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from employee to employee, employee to customer, customer to employer, and customer to customer.” The Coryell Order permits for gatherings for religious services (albeit not for funerals or weddings). The Order is set to remain in place through 11:59 p.m. on May 4, 2020.

April 7, 2020:

Donley County and Jim Hogg County have issued stay-at-home orders that will expire on April 30.

Live Oak County has also issued a stay-at-home order, set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on April 15.

Scurry County’s stay-at-home order, previously set to expire on April 3, has been extended until 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2020.

April 6, 2020:

Brazoria County, Chambers County, Polk County, Tarrant County, and Waller County have officially extended their stay-at-home orders until April 30th. The Citiy of Arlington has followed suit. Fort Worth is expected to vote on the same extension on April 7 (the day the current declaration is set to expire).

Castro County has extended its stay-at-home order through April 23, 2020.

The Counties of Brewster, Presidio, and Jeff Davis have also issued stay-at-home orders, as has the City of Odessa.

April 5, 2020:

Dallas County has clarified that while the disaster declaration will be continued through May 20, the “safer-at-home” orders will continue until April 30.

Guadalupe County has issued a stay-at-home order, which went into effect Friday at 11:59 p.m. It will last until 11:59 p.m. on April 30.

The City of Lubbock has officially extended its stay-at-home order to April 30.

April 3, 2020:

In recent days, the City of Lufkin issued a “Stay Home – Stay Safe Order,” as well as the City of Brownfield, and the City of Wichita Falls. The following counties also issued stay at home orders: Anderson County, Cass County, Harrison County, Refugio County, Starr County, Victoria County, and Willacy County.

Dallas County has extended its stay-at-home order through May 20th. The Order was put to a vote during a special meeting of the commissioner’s court this morning. The date was chosen after a debate over hospital readiness, as COVID-19 projection models show that a peak in Darras, Tarrant, Denton, and Collin County should hit around April 20th.  The County expects positive cases will continue after the peak, though in reduced numbers, for several weeks after.  The Order marks the first Texas county to extend its stay-at-home order into May.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg plans to extend San Antonio’s stay-at-home order through April 30.  The current order is set to expire on April 9th.  City Council will vote on the extension the same day.

The City of Lubbock will host an emergency meeting at 2:00 p.m. today to discuss the possibility of extending the current stay-at-home order. Lubbock Mayor Dan pope said he will ask the city council to extend the order until April 30th.

April 2, 2020:

Gov. Abbott has clarified his previously issued executive order, saying that it “requires all Texans to stay at home” except for essential activities. His order went into effect at 12:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. The Order shall remain in place until April 30.  

Dallas County issued an Amended Order yesterday, adding several notable provisions to its March 31 Order, including the following:

  1. A statement indicating that the COVID-19 virus causes property loss or damage due to its ability to attach to surfaces for prolonged periods of time;
  2. A provision requiring Critical Infrastructure employers to implement screening precautions;
  3. A note of caution to construction employers who fail to abide by the Order that such disobedience can result both in penalties and the noncompliant party being removed from the essential business list;
  4. A note that pet supply stores are required to comply with the Rules for Essential Retail Establishments; and
  5. A requirement that laboratories performing COVID-19 testing shall report their results by 5:00 p.m. each day.

El Paso County also announced updates to their stay-at-home order. Notable changes include the following:

  1. Public and private gatherings of any number of people outside of a single household are not allowed;
  2. Public and private gatherings at any recreational area, pool, park, or recreational facility are prohibited;
  3. Hiking in the Franklin Mountains is strongly discouraged; and
  4. People who have traveled 100 or more miles outside of El Paso must self-quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Additionally, El Paso job sites must:

  1. Comply with social distancing;
  2. Implement staggered shifts;
  3. Allow 15-minute breaks every four hours to allow workers to comply with hygiene requirements; and
  4. Have workers wash their hands before and after each work shift, after removing gloves, before and after the use of shared tools, and before and after any meal or restroom break.

Galveston County, Harris County and the City of Houston have extended their stay-at-home orders through April 30.

The City of Lufkin has also issued a “Stay Home – Stay Safe Order,” as has Cass County, and Refugio County.

April 1, 2020:

More than 50 Texas counties have issued stay-at-home orders, with many clusters for counties around the most populated Texas cities.  The latest stay-at-home orders have been issued in the following counties: Angelina County,  Bastrop County, Brazos County, Burnet County, Caldwell County, Gregg County, Hardin County, Hale County, Hockley County, Jasper County, Jefferson County, Kaufman County, Lampasas County, Leon County, Llano County, Newton County, Orange County, Potter County, Sabine County, San Augustine County, Smith County, Trinity County, and Young County.

The cities of Amarillo, Canyon, Kilgore, Levelland, and Plainview have also followed suit.

March 31, 2020:

The Texas Hospital Association and Texas nurses Association are putting pressure on Gov. Greg Abbott to issue a statewide stay-at-home order. Abbott has long resisted calls to do so, saying the decision is one that needs to be made on a case-by-case basis by local governments.

Instead, Gov. Abbott announced during a 2:00 p.m. news conference that he would extend social distancing protocols through April 30, while Texas schools are to remain closed through May 4. Gov. Abbott said Texans are expected to limit interactions, but stopped short of issuing a stay-at-home order. Executive Order No. 14, instead, the Order states that it “shall supersede any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVD-19 [sic] disaster, but only to the extent that such a local order restricts essential services allowed by this executive order or allows gatherings prohibited by this executive order.” The Order instead allows for all essential businesses as defined by CISA, notably permitting residential construction to proceed.

Patchwork orders throughout cities and counties of Texas have already caused issues, with a McKinney resident filing a lawsuit against the mayor, stating that McKinney’s emergency order is contradictory to that of Collin County.

After 12 COVID-19 cases were confirmed at a senior living facility in the Woodlands, Montgomery County judge Mark Keough issued a shelter-in-place order for the facility.  The order, issued just after 6:00 p.m. on March 30, allows residents 24 hours to leave the facility to stay with family and friends. Otherwise, they must continue to self-quarantine and will not be permitted to reenter the property until April 13, 2020.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (“TDEM”) has released their Travel-Quarantine Exemption Form, as required by Gov. Abbott’s executive orders. TDEM will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether the self-quarantine order applies to individuals traveling in connection with commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical infrastructure functions.

March 30, 2020:

Gov. Greg Abbot extended his executive order, mandating quarantine for anyone traveling to Texas from any of the following: State of California, State of Louisiana, State of Washington, City of Atlanta, City of Chicago, City of Detroit, and City of Miami.

As of March 27, an estimated 184 Texas counties have enacted declaration and orders related to COVID-19. The newest counties to have enacted stay-at-home orders in the last few days include Atascosa, Bee, Duval, Johnson, Kleberg, Liberty, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Nolan, San Patricio, Smith, Tyler, and Waller.

Meanwhile, the following cities have also enacted stay-at-home orders: AliceAransas Pass, Beaumont, Cleburne, Ingleside, Lubbock, McKinney, Odem (includes a curfew between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.), Sinton, and Taft.

March 27, 2020:

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating quarantine for anyone traveling to Texas from either New Orleans or the New York Tri-State area. During this period, the quarantined individual “should not allow visitors into or out of the designated quarantine location, other than a physician or healthcare provider, and cannot visit any public spaces.” Those found to be in violation of the order may face criminal charges, including a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail. Gov. Abbott’s order does not apply to those traveling in connection with military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions.

In addition, multiple counties and municipalities across Texas continue to issue or amend stay at home or related orders. The counties affected in the last few days include the counties of BrazoriaChambersHaysNuecesPolkSan Jacinto, and the cities of Flower Mound and New Braunfels. These orders vary in scope and duration and may have different exceptions and exemptions relevant to your business. If you have operations in these or other areas in Texas and are concerned about applicable restrictions, please contact us for more detailed information.

March 26, 2020:

(Brazos County, City of Bryan, and City of College Station):  Shelter-in-place orders have been issued for Bryan, College Station, and Brazos County, and went into effect Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m.

(Castro County): As of  11:59 p.m. on March 24, 2020, Castro County is under an order to shelter-at-home, as issued by County Judge Carroll Gerber.

(City of El Paso): Dee Margo, Mayor of El Paso, issued a shelter-at-home order, effective March 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.  All non-essential business operations are directed to cease and residents are directed to only leave their home for essential activities.

(Denton County, City of Denton): County Judge Andy Eads issued a shelter-at-home order as of March 24, 2020 ordering residents to stay at their homes unless they had a necessity that required them to leave shelter.

(Gregg County, City of Longview): Gregg County-area leaders have shifted their voluntary shelter-in-place order to a mandatory order after three cases were confirmed within the County.  The Order begins Thursday, March 27 at 11:59 p.m. and will last through Thursday, April 9 at 11:59 p.m.

(City of Lampasas): Mayor Misti Talbert signed a March 23rd Order requiring all individuals in Lampasas to stay at home unless they had a valid reason, authorized by the Order, to travel the city.

(Robertson County): Robertson County Judge Charles Ellison issued an order requiring residents to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses and operations to cease operations, subject to certain exceptions.

(Rockwall County): Rockwall County Judge David Sweet placed the County under a shelter-in-place Order until at least 11:59 p.m. on April 15.  The Order is in effect with familiar exceptions, for those conducting certain essential activities or providing essential business services.

March 25, 2020:

(City of Austin): The City of Austin issued a Stay Home – Work Safe Order.  The Order states that it does not hinder the ability of industries identified in the CISA guidelines as Critical Infrastructure to continue operations.  The Order includes twenty five categories of Essential Businesses, including healthcare operations, grocery and essential supply stores, food cultivation, social services, media, gas stations, financial institutions, hardware and supply stores, trades providing sanitation and safety services for residences and essential businesses, laundry, restaurants for off-premises consumption, transportation, businesses that provide supplies or support to other essential businesses, professional services, and hotels, among other categories.

The City of Austin issued a guidance document regarding what construction is permitted under the city’s order.

(Travis County): Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt issued an order requiring residents to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses and operations to cease operations, subject to certain exceptions.

(Harris County and City of Houston): A copy of the Stay Home, Work Safe Order has been made available online.

(Williamson County): County Judge Bill Gravell has issued a Stay Home Stay Safe Order for all individuals in Williamson County. This Order took effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24 and will continue through 11:59 p.m. on April 13, subject to the limited exceptions. Exceptions include performing essential activities, such as purchasing food and medical needs, and performing services or work for essential businesses, essential government services, or essential critical infrastructure, including construction.

March 24, 2020:

Texas (Austin): On March 24, Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued an order requiring residents to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses and operations to cease operations, subject to certain exceptions. The order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. on March 24, continuing until April 23, unless modified by subsequent order. The Order expressly states that it is not construed to hinder the operation of critical infrastructure as identified in the CISA guidelines.

Texas (Tarrant County): On March 24, Collin County Judge Chris Hill issued an order requiring all persons with symptoms or those at high risk to stay home. The Order declared that all businesses must take actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but declared all businesses, jobs, and workers to be essential to the financial health and well-being of the economy, and stated that businesses are to remain open.

Texas (Tarrant County): On March 24, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley issued an amended order requiring residents to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses and operations to cease operations, subject to certain exceptions. The order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. on March 24, continuing until April 7, unless modified by subsequent order. Tarrant County includes the City of Fort Worth. The Order directly incorporates Critical Infrastructure as defined by CISA guidelines into its definition of Essential Businesses.

Texas (Travis County): The Travis County Judge is expected to issue an order requiring residents to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses and operations to cease operations, subject to certain exceptions.

Texas (Harris County and City of Houston): On March 24, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a joint order requiring residents to stay home, subject to certain exceptions. The order is to be effective at 11:59 p.m. on March 24, continuing to at least April 3. As of this moment, a copy of the order is not yet available online.

Texas (CIty of Waco): On March 24, Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver issued an order requiring residents to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses and operations to cease operations, subject to certain exceptions. The order was effective immediately.

El Paso County also issued an Order incorporating all critical infrastructure under CISA guidelines as Essential Businesses, among other categories.

March 23, 2020:

Texas (Statewide): On March 23, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a news release to state that, pursuant to Executive Order GA 09 issued by Governor Greg Abbott, the requirement for healthcare providers to postpone “all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary” extends to abortion providers.

(City of Austin): Mayor Steve Adler announced that the City of Austin and Travis County are preparing shelter-in-place orders that would further restrictions on social movement to tamp down spread of the coronavirus.

On March 23, Austin City Council Member Greg Casar proposed a city ordinance to require landlords in the City of Austin to provide a notice of proposed eviction that gives tenants a 60-day opportunity to respond before they could give the tenant a notice to vacate (the “Proposed Ordinance”). The relief under the Proposed Ordinance would be available to a tenant who “loses wages or income during” the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Proposed Ordinance would apply if there is a risk of eviction due to delinquent payments from the proposed effective date of the Proposed Ordinance, March 26, through March 8. The Proposed Ordinance would be effective through July 8. A violation of the Proposed Ordinance would be punishable by a $500 fine, with a separate offense for each day the violation continues. The co-sponsors of the Proposed Ordinance are Council Member Kathie Tovo, Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, and Mayor Steve Adler. The City Council is scheduled to consider the Proposed Ordinance at its meeting on Thursday, March 26.

Texas (College Station): On March 23, Mayor Karl Mooney issued an order requiring residents to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses and operations to cease operations, subject to certain exceptions. The order was effective immediately and continues until April 5, unless modified by subsequent order.

Texas (Dallas County): On March 23, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued an amended order (the “Amended Order”), requiring residents to shelter in place. The Amended Order also requires all businesses operating within Dallas County, except “Essential Businesses” to cease all activities at facilities located within the County. The Amended Order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. on March 23, continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 3. The Order includes Essential Critical Infrastructure as defined by CISA guidelines, and also includes certain essential retail businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores, as well as other service providers as “Essential Businesses.”

Texas (San Antonio): On March 23, Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued an order requiring all city residents to stay home, subject to certain exceptions. The order was effective immediately and remains in effect until further order. The order was effective immediately.

On March 23, the following Texas counties issued orders requiring residents to shelter at home, and all non-essential businesses and operations to cease operations, subject to certain exceptions.

Bell County, Galveston County, and Hunt County all directly incorporate Critical Infrastructure as defined by CISA guidelines to be included as Essential Businesses.

March 22, 2020:

Texas (statewide): On March 22, Governor Greg Abbott signed an Executive Order to expand hospital bed capacity as the state responds to the COVID-19 virus. These actions will reinforce Texas' health care capabilities and provide additional space for hospitals to provide care to COVID-19 patients. Under this order, the Governor directed all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician. This does not apply to any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the personal protective equipment needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster. The Governor’s Executive Order takes effect immediately and remains in effect and in full force until 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2020, unless it is modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the Governor.

(Dallas County): On March 22, the Dallas County Judge issued a shelter-in-place order, effective March 24 to April 4, unless modified by subsequent order. The order requires all residents to stay home except to conduct “Essential Activities,” and requires that all businesses cease operations except for “Essential Businesses.” Under the order, essential businesses include those that are necessary to the operations and maintenance of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified in a recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) memorandum. For the critical infrastructure exception to apply, employees must work in compliance with social distancing requirements, and all activity must be performed in compliance with the order’s social distancing guidelines.

(Tarrant County): On March 22, the Tarrant County Judge issued an executive order to clarify its declaration from the previous day. The order clarified that the declaration should not be construed to hinder the ability of the industries identified in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (“CISA”) “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Memorandum,” dated March 19, 2020, to continue their operation appropriately modified to account for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) workforce and consumer protection guidance. In addition, the order stated that businesses that qualify as Critical Infrastructure Industry under the CISA memorandum are exempt from the declaration.

Texas (Hidalgo County): On March 22, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez issued an order imposing a curfew that requires residents to shelter at home between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., with exceptions for persons identified as part of critical infrastructure, governmental workplaces that are ordered to remain open, persons traveling directly to and from essential businesses and retail establishments, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained for employees and customers to reduce transmission of COVID-19, persons authorized to travel by the Emergency Management Director, and persons serving a law enforcement role, first responders, and emergency medical services personnel. The Order was effective immediately and remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 5, unless modified by subsequent order.

March 21, 2020:

(City of Austin): On March 21, Mayor Steve Adler issued an order, effective March 21 to May 1 limiting social gatherings to no more than 10 people. The order does not apply to employment work or job duties and responsibilities, shopping for food, medicine or household supplies. The order does not apply to schools, institutes of higher education, hospitals, medical offices, or veterinarian clinics. The order further closes on-premises dining at bars and restaurants.

The order requires that “Critical Infrastructure” continue to operate and imposes on critical infrastructure additional, rigid requirements. The order defines “Critical Infrastructure” as all public and private facilities and assets, including both physical and cyber systems, and other functions and sectors vital to the security, governance, public health, safety, and economic continuity of the City of Austin. Examples of critical infrastructure include banking and financial institutions, critical or technology manufacturing, agriculture, food, and sanitation services.

The order states that employees who work in and around Critical Infrastructure should refrain from reporting to work when feeling symptoms and requires certain screening for symptoms.

(Travis County): On March 21, the Travis County Judge issued an order effective March 21 to May 1, unless modified by subsequent order. The order prohibits social gatherings of more than 10 people and prohibits non-social gatherings to 10 people unless “Social Distancing” is maintained and controlled. The order does not apply to “Critical Infrastructure,” schools, institutes of higher education, hospitals, medical offices, or veterinarian clinics. The order defines “Critical Infrastructure” as all public and private facilities and assets, including physical and cyber systems, and other functions and sectors vital to the security, governance, public health, safety, and economic continuity of Travis County.

(Tarrant County): On March 21, the Tarrant County Judge issued a declaration of local disaster, effective at 6:00 p.m. the same day, and lasting for seven days unless extended by the Commissioners Court. The declaration limits the size of gatherings to 10 people, but it does not prohibit gatherings of people in multiple, separate enclosed spaces (including separate cubicles) in a single building such as different floors of a multi-level office, residential building, or hotel, so long as not more than 10 people are present in any single space at the same time.

The declaration further requires that that restaurants, microbreweries, micro-distilleries, and wineries may only provide take out, delivery, or drive-in or drive-through services. The declaration ordered the closure of bars, theaters, gyms, event spaces, retail stores that do not sell essential household goods, and many other types of businesses. Stores selling essential goods may stay open as long as they enforce social distancing; examples of such stores include pharmacies, grocery stores, day care facilities, medical facilities, office buildings, and manufacturing and distribution facilities. The declaration does not apply to businesses that provide essential services, which means services the interruption of which would endanger life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the population.

(City of Fort Worth): Mayor Betsy Price signed an amended order effective March 21. Per the order, all in-person worship services are no longer permitted, with the exception of worship support staff to facilitate online services. The order also closes malls, non-essential retail establishments such as barber shops, and entertainment establishes and gyms.

The order includes an exception for essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies and other establishments that sell household goods, which may remain open but must enforce social separation. Examples of essential services are convenience and package stores, pharmacies and drug stores, day care facilities, medical facilities, veterinary facilities, non-profit service providers of essential services, homeless and emergency shelters, office buildings, jails, essential government buildings, airports and transit facilities, transportation systems, residential buildings and hotels, manufacturing and distribution facilities. In-house dining at restaurants remains closed, but drive-in, drive-through, takeout and delivery are still permitted. The order requires that there be no gatherings of more than 10 people.

(El Paso County): On March 21, the El Paso County Judge issued an order limiting social gatherings to 10 people. The order requires the closure of gyms, as well as bars and restaurants other than for take-out or delivery. The order does not mandate sheltering in place. 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.

March 20, 2020:

(Fort Bend County): On March 20, the Fort Bend County Judge issued an order effective March 21 to April 3, unless modified by subsequent order. The order prohibits visitation to nursing homes, and further requires dining services to only provide take-out and delivery.

March 19, 2020:

(Statewide): On March 19, Texas Governor Gregg Abbot issued Executive Order No. GA-08, effective March 21 through April 3 with restrictions on certain social activities.

Also on March 19, the Texas Department of State Health Services determined that COVID-19 represents a public health disaster pursuant to the Texas Health and Safety Code.

March 16, 2020:

(City of Houston): On March 16, the Houston Health Department issued an order, effective March 17 at 8 a.m. The order requires the closure of bars and nightclubs for 15 days. It also orders food service establishments to cease on-site dining service for 15 days. The order does not affect restaurant carry-out, delivery and drive-thru service, third-party delivery services, or grocery stores.

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