Added: Junita Delorenzo - Date: 04.01.2022 18:59 - Views: 33750 - Clicks: 9955
Greg Abbott on Tuesday told Texans to stay at home for the next month unless they are taking part in essential services and activities, announcing a heightened statewide standard to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. He also announced that schools would remain closed until at least May 4.
During a news conference at the Texas Capitol, Abbott declined to call his latest executive order a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order, arguing such labels leave the wrong impression and that he wants Texans to know, for example, they can still go to the grocery store. But in an interview afterward, he said "it's a fact" that the executive order nonetheless brings Texas up to speed with states that have issued orders with those labels.
The state has outlined a list of more than a dozen sectors that provide essential services that comply with Abbott's order, which is largely aligned with federal guidance on the issue. Those include health care, energy, food and critical manufacturing. Texas' list adds religious services, which are not included in federal guidance. The order goes into effect at a. Thursday and lasts until April 30, aligning it with the new end date that President Donald Trump announced Monday for social-distancing guidelines. The order supersedes one that Abbott issued March 19 that limited social gatherings to 10 people, among other things.
The new order narrows that standard ificantly, asking Texans to "minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. In other instances, the new order extends guidance in the one, including the prohibition against eating in at bars and restaurants. The latest also extends until May 4 the school shutdown, which was initially set to end midnight Friday with the expiration of the governor's prior order.
In using terms like "minimize," the new order's language stops short of explicitly banning nonessential activity. But Abbott made clear he expects all Texans to adhere to the guidance or face criminal punishment — and that there is only wiggle room in the language to for potential "exceptions to the rule.
At the news conference and in the interview, Abbott chafed at labels such as "shelter-in-place" and "stay-at-home," suggesting they are misnomers. In the interview, Abbott said he had asked his legal research team to look into the true meaning of "shelter-in-place," and the team came back with guidance from the American Red Cross that advises people to remain indoors during an emergency.
Abbott said that guidance does not "have top, side or bottom any relationship whatsoever to the concept" of the orders that are being labeled "shelter-in-place. In any case, for over a week, Abbott has resisted calls for a statewide order of the type, deferring to local officials.
In recent days, they have acted to put most of the Texas population under such orders. Hours before Abbott's news conference, the leaders of the Texas Hospital Association and Texas Nurses Association released a letter to the governor saying the "time has come" for a statewide stay-at-home order. Last week, 65 out of 67 Texas House Democrats called on Abbott to issue such an order. After Abbott's announcement Tuesday, state Rep.
Chris Turnerchairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, issued a statement saying the governor's news conference "was confusing at times, but we believe it amounts to a step in the right direction. Abbott has essentially created a statewide stay-at-home order," said Turner, of Grand Prairie. Turner and others did express concern about Abbott's decision to include religious worship as an essential service, leaving open the possibility of large gatherings at churches.
At the news conference, Abbott encouraged churches to conduct their services remotely but said that if they must meet in person, they should follow the federal social-distancing guidelines. There has been controversy, particularly in the Houston area, over church closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Pastors are in court challenging a stay-at-home order that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a week ago that restricts churches to online-only services.
To that end, Abbott's latest executive order overrides "any conflicting order issued by local officials," including those related to religious services. At the news conference, Abbott said local officials "still have flexibility to impose standards that they consider to be more strict" — as long as they do not conflict with his latest executive order. There are at least 3, coronavirus cases in Texas, including 41 deaths, according to the most recent figures from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The cases are spread across of the state's counties. There have been 42, tests done in Texas, according to the latest s. Disclosure: The Texas Hospital Association has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
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Gov. Greg Abbott closes bars, restaurants and schools as he anticipates tens of thousands could test positive for coronavirus