Governor Abbott Declarations & Executive Orders

Texas Office of the Governor
September 17, 2020 | Governor Greg Abbott today 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 Orders expanding occupancy levels for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries, and re-authorizing elective surgeries for a majority of the state of Texas. The Governor also announced new guidance related to visitations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state.In addition, the Governor implemented the use of reliable, data driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help guide the state’s ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 and expand occupancy for businesses and services. This metric focuses on areas with high hospitalizations — referring to 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. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.

Using this metric, 19 of the 22 TSAs in Texas qualify to increase occupancy levels to 75% for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms, exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries beginning September 21st. In addition, these 19 TSAs can also resume elective surgeries. Three of the 22 TSAs (S-Victoria, T-Laredo, and V-Lower Rio Grande Valley) must remain at 50% occupancy and continue postponing elective surgeries until the hospitalization metric requirements are met. These three TSAs contain the following counties: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Victoria, Jim Hogg, Webb, Zapata, Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy.

“With the medical advancements we have made and the personal hygiene practices we have adopted, Texans have shown that we can address both the health and safety concerns of COVID-19 while also taking careful, measured steps to restore the livelihoods that Texans depend on,” said Governor Abbott. “Achieving both goals requires safe standards that contain COVID-19, emphasize protecting the most vulnerable, and establish clear metrics that the public can depend on. That is why today we have announced expanded occupancy standards for a variety of services. But, Texans should remember that a steady and significant decline in COVID-19 cases is not a sign to let up in our vigilance against the virus. Instead, Texans must continue to heed the guidance of medical experts by wearing a mask, social distancing, and practicing proper sanitation strategies. By maintaining health and safety standards that are proven to mitigate COVID-19, we can continue to slow the spread while opening up the Texas economy.”

The Governor announced new visitation guidance for eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice effective Thursday, September 24th. Under the new rules, 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, to help ensure their loved one’s physical, social, and emotional needs are being met. Designated caregivers will not be required to maintain physical distancing, but only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time.

A long-term care facility resident (or legal representative) can designate the essential caregiver, who can be a family member, friend, or other individual. 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 essential caregiver, these updated emergency rules will allow approved facilities to schedule outdoor no contact visits, open window visits, or indoor visitation with the use of plexiglass safety barriers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical contact between residents and general visitors is not permitted. Facilities also must continue to meet all additional visitation requirements outlined in the emergency rules.

View the Governor’s Executive Order related to expanded capacity of certain services.

View the Governor’s Executive Order related to hospital capacity.

 

August 24 | TABC enacts emergency changes to FB License requirements to help businesses on the verge of permanent closure

The Texas Restaurant Association continues to work closely with TABC and the Governor’s office to safely reopen Texas. TABC adopted emergency amendments to the rules that define who may operate with a food and beverage certificate. Governor Abbott’s executive order, will allow more businesses to reopen during the COVID-19 recovery.

Specifically, the emergency amendments:

  • Removed the commercial cooking equipment requirement,
  • Allows businesses to bring in and count commercially pre-packaged food items, and
  • Allows businesses to partner with food trucks and include food truck sales towards their 51% calculation.

These amendments are effective today. Businesses looking to take advantage of this change should follow TABC’s guidelines here in order to reopen.

It is imperative that any business reopening under TABC’s guidelines follow all COVID-19 restaurant protocols. It’s only by working together as an industry with our customers, employees, and elected officials, that we’ll be able to continue our critical reopening efforts, keep people safe, and rebuild our economy.


August 24 | Governor Abbott Statement On Federal Approval For Lost Wages Assistance Funds

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today issued a statement after the federal government approved nearly $1.4 billion in initial funds made available through President Trump’s Lost Wage Assistance Executive Order. This funding will provide an additional $300 per week in benefits for qualifying Texans receiving unemployment benefits. The Texas Workforce Commission applied for these funds earlier this week.

 

“I thank the Trump administration for swiftly granting these funds to help Texans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Abbott. “These funds will help Texans in need support their families as we work to revitalize the economy and get Texans back to work.”


August 4, 2020 | Governor Abbott Provides Update On PPE Distribution To Texas Schools
Governor Greg Abbott visited the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s (TDEM) Warehouse in San Antonio where he provided an update on the state’s distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Texas school districts for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Governor noted that the state will continue to purchase and distribute PPE to schools at no cost to the school districts.
The Governor also discussed the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) guidance for school openings—noting that local school boards have the ability to determine how and when to open for in-person instruction.
“Health and safety remain our top priority as we approach the upcoming school year,” said Governor Abbott. “To meet that priority, the State of Texas is purchasing and distributing vast amounts of PPE to Texas school districts. As local school boards make determinations on how and when they choose to open schools, the state is working to help ensure that there will be a strong supply of PPE waiting for them to keep students, teachers, and staff safe.”
The state has already distributed the following to Texas schools:
59,410,640 masks
567,948 gallons of hand sanitizer
24,017 thermometers
511,294 face shields
As previously announced by the TEA, local school boards have up to a 4-week back to school transition period during which they can offer a solely remote instructional setting if that is deemed needed for the health and safety of students, teachers, staff and parents. After 4 weeks, the school district can extend the transition period up to another 4 weeks with a vote of the school board and receiving a waiver. If any school district believes they need an extension beyond 8 weeks due to COVID-19 related issues, the TEA will review that request on a case-by-case basis.
The Governor also discussed the Supply Chain Strike Force and TDEM’s broader efforts to purchase and distribute PPE supplies to meet the needs of Texas communities. The TDEM Warehouse has distributed the following PPE since the pandemic began:
794,370 coveralls
4,095,892 face shields
32,972,340 gloves
7,409,424 gowns
132,850,406 masks

July 31, 2020 | Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, Speaker Bonnen, Chairman Taylor, Chairman Huberty Release Statement On School Re-Openings

July 31, 2020 | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor, and House Education Chairman Dan Huberty released the following statement on school re-openings this fall:

“The Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) guidance for opening public schools in Texas for the 2020-21 school year remains the same as announced two weeks ago. This guidance followed a letter issued jointly by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker, and Chairs of the Senate and House Education Committees.

“The top priority is protecting the safety and health of students, teachers, staff, and families. To achieve that goal, the TEA provided local school boards the flexibility they need to open schools in ways that ensure public safety while also providing the best education options for students during this challenging school year.

“The TEA guidance applies long-standing state law and Executive Orders to conclude that the authority to make decisions about when and how schools safely open rests with the constitutionally and statutorily established local school boards.

“The authority to decide when the school year will begin lies with local school boards. They can choose dates in August, September, or even later. But, whenever the local school board chooses to open, the board must comply with the requirement to provide the necessary number of days and hours of instruction for students. Read More.


July 27 | Governor Extends Early Voting Period For Nov. 3 Election

Governor Greg Abbott issued a Proclamation extending the early voting period for the November 3rd Election by nearly a week. In-person early voting will begin on Tuesday, October 13, and continue through Friday, October 30. The proclamation also expands the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person to the early voting clerk’s office, allowing such delivery prior to as well as on Election Day.  Read More.


July 28 | AG Paxton Issues Legal Guidance on School Reopening

Attorney General Ken Paxton issued guidance on the opening of local schools, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“While playing an important role in protecting the health of school children and employees, local health authorities “may not issue sweeping orders closing schools for the sole purpose of preventing future COVID-19 infections.” Read More.


July 10 | Governor Greg Abbott Renews COVID-19 Disaster Declaration
Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a number of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Read More.

July 2, 2020 | Governor Abbott Establishes Statewide Face Covering Requirement &  Issues Proclamation To Limit Gatherings

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”

Additionally, the Governor released a new video message to coincide with his Executive Order, encouraging Texans to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep their communities safe.  The video can be downloaded at this link and can also be viewed on YouTube.

View the Governor’s Executive Order.  |  View the Governor’s Proclamation.


Governor Abbott Extends Disaster Declaration

June 30, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Proclamation

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:

WHEREAS, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on May 31, 2020, certifying under Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code that the threats and incidents of violence starting on May 29, 2020, which have endangered public safety, constitute and pose an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas; and

WHEREAS, these events have caused or imminently threatened widespread or severe damage, injury, and property loss, among other harms, at a time when the State of Texas is responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disaster; and

WHEREAS, while all Americans are entitled to exercise their First Amendment rights, it is imperative that order is maintained, all persons are kept safe and healthy, and property is protected; and

WHEREAS, peaceful protestors, many of whom are responding to the senseless taking of life by the reprehensible actions of a few, should themselves be protected from harm; and

WHEREAS, the declaration of a state of disaster has facilitated and expedited the use and deployment of resources to enhance preparedness and response to the ongoing threats, including by ensuring that federal law enforcement officers can fully assist with the efforts; and

WHEREAS, a state of disaster continues to exist in all counties due to threats of widespread or severe damage, injury, and property loss, among other harms;

NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby renew the disaster proclamation for all counties in Texas.

Pursuant to Section 418.017, I authorize the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with this disaster.

Pursuant to Section 418.016(a), I hereby continue the suspension of all relevant provisions within Chapter 1701 of the Texas Occupations Code, as well as Title 37, Chapters 211-229 of the Texas Administrative Code, to the extent necessary for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to allow federal law enforcement officers to perform peace officer duties in Texas.  Additionally, pursuant to Section 418.016, any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or any order or rule of a state agency that would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster shall be suspended upon written approval of the Office of the Governor.  However, to the extent that the enforcement of any state statute or administrative rule regarding contracting or procurement would impede any state agency’s emergency response that is necessary to cope with this declared disaster, I hereby suspend such statutes and rules for the duration of this declared disaster for that limited purpose.

In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 30th day of June, 2020.

Governor Greg Abbott


Governor Abbott Takes Executive Action To Contain Spread Of COVID-19

June 26, 2020 | Press Release | Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state. Read More


June 22 | On June 3, Governor Abbott announced the third phase of the Texas plan to continue safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19. Effective immediately, all businesses in Texas may operate at up to 50% capacity, with limited exceptions. Today, the Governor discussed several steps the state is taking to mitigate the spread of the virus in recent weeks—including increasing enforcement of health and safety regulations, rapidly increasing testing in hot spots, and working with hospitals throughout the state to ensure they have the ability to treat Texans who test positive for COVID-19. Read More
Click on the image for the Governor’s Press Release or you may go to the Open Texas website at https://open.texas.gov/.

TX Governor Re-Open Texas Phase III

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Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-23, is effective immediately and will continue through June 3, 2020. Guidance and protocols for businesses to open can be found at Open Texas.

Starting Immediately except for Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter and Randall Counties:
• Massage establishments and others licensed under Chapter 455 of the Texas Occupations Code may operate but must maintain at least six feet of social distancing.
• Personal-care and beauty services not already open may operate but must maintain at least six feet of social distancing between work stations. These include:  Tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services and hair loss treatment and growth services;  Child-care services other than youth camps

Starting Friday, May 22, 2020, except for Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter and Randall Counties:
• Dine-in restaurants at 50% occupancy (50% does not include outdoor seating, where 6 feet of separation must be maintained, or employees)
• Bars and similar establishments, such as wineries and breweries, may operate at 25% capacity
• Aquariums, natural caverns and similar facilities may operate at 25% occupancy
• Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing to the extent allowed by law, and skating rinks may operate at 25% capacity
• Rodeos and equestrian at 25% occupancy (this does not allow for county fairs or large social gatherings)
• Drive-in concerts provided that participants remain in their own vehicles
• Amateur sporting events which provide no access to the general public and all participants have tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the event

Starting Friday, May 29, 2020 for Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter, and Randall Counties:
• Massage establishments and others licensed under Chapter 455 of the Texas Occupations Code may operate but must maintain at least six feet of social distancing.
• Personal-care and beauty services not already open may operate but must maintain at least six feet of social distancing between work stations. These include:
o Tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services and hair loss treatment and growth services
• Child-care services other than youth camps
• Dine-in restaurants at 50% occupancy (50% does not include outdoor seating, where 6 feet of separation must be maintained, or employees)
• Bars and similar establishments, such as wineries and breweries, may operate at 25% capacity
• Aquariums, natural caverns and similar facilities may operate at 25% occupancy
• Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing to the extent allowed by law, and skating rinks may operate at 25% capacity
• Rodeos and equestrian events at 25% capacity (this does not allow for county fairs or large social gatherings)
• Drive-in concerts provided that participants remain in their own vehicles
• Amateur sporting events which provide no access to the general public and all participants have tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the event

Starting Friday, May 29, 2020 for all Texas Counties:
• Outdoor areas of zoos may operate up to 25% capacity. All indoor areas of the zoo, except for restrooms, are to remain closed.

Starting Sunday, May 31, 2020 for all Texas Counties:
• Certain professional sporting events with no spectators physical present on the premises and as approved by DSHS
• Youth camps and summer camps, including both daytime and overnight
• Youth sports programs may begin practices but games and competitions may not begin until June 15, 2020.

Counties with five or fewer active case counts can file proper attestation forms with DSHS to allow for occupancy limits to be 50% instead of the listed 25%.

Texans are asked to avoid interactive amusement venues (including amusement parks and water parks) at this time. Texans are also still asked to not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities at this time.

Information about Schools and Education:
• All public schools should follow guidance as set forth by TEA and found on the TEA website
• Schools may conduct graduation ceremonies as set forth by TEA and found on the TEA website

Starting June 1, 2020 Public School Districts may:
• Allow students to access the campus for in person classroom instruction such as summer school, special education, specialized assessments and tutoring services.
• Public education teachers are encouraged to continue to work remotely from home if possible

Private schools and institutions of higher education may reopen campuses and are encouraged to establish similar standards to allow students, teachers, and staff to return to campus for limited purpose.

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June 3 | Governor Abbott announced the third phase of the State of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19. Effective immediately, all businesses in Texas may operate at up to 50% capacity, with limited exceptions.
Businesses that previously have been able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. Businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Effective 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.
Effective 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%.
Effective June 19: Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity.
Additional Openings: Special provisions have been made for outdoor gatherings, such as Fourth of July celebrations, but it is imperative that local officials and public health officials collaborate on safe standards.
Governor’s Executive Order and Protocols are also available at Open Texas.
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March 31, 2020 Executive Order | “Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas.

The order directs all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household and renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants; allowing for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.

Go to TDEM’s COVID-19 website for a list of Essential Services. Orders will be effective statewide starting at 12:01 AM on April 2, 2020 through April 30, 2020.

 

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Office of the Governor

Press Release: Status of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Texas

Governor Declares State Of Disaster For All Texas Counties