AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an essential services order. The order would require anyone who is not considered an essential critical infrastructure worker to stay home.
The order will limit everyone who lives or works within the state of Texas to only leave home for essential activity, essential business, essential government functions and critical care functions.
Law enforcement across the state can enforce the order which is punishable by a fine or jail time, according to Governor Abbott.
WHAT IS AN ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKER?
Abbott's new order allows exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security's guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services.
Essential workers are needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Essential critical infrastructure workers work in the following fields:
- Commercial facilities
- Critical manufacturing
- Defense industrial base
- Emergency services
- Food and agriculture
- Government facilities
- Health care and public health
- Information technology
- Nuclear reactors, materials, and waste
- Transportations systems
Governor Abbott said in the virtual press conference that Texans are allowed to still leave their homes for essential activities such as grocery shopping or getting medication. Everyone is being asked to limit nonessential activities.
Abbott said the state of Texas will continue to follow social distancing guidelines continue until April 30. He also said schools will remain closed until May 4.
The essential services order comes after a number of Texas counties have already issued stay-at-home orders.
Counties in Central Texas were soon to follow, both Travis County and Williamson County issued stay at home orders on March 23. On March 24, Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a "Stay Home-Work Safe" order for Harris County and all cities in the county, including Houston.
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