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Coronavirus Updates

Posted on: March 21, 2020

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Governor's Executive Order

Questions and Answers to Governor Abbott's Executive Order

Governor Greg Abbott’s office has provided these answers to questions on his Executive Order limiting social gatherings:

The Executive Orders issued related to COVID-19 mitigation in Texas are effective statewide as of midnight on March 20, 2020, and end at midnight on April 3, 2020, unless extended. 

These orders to aid in the state’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Texas — and to save lives — are in accordance with federal guidelines issued by the President an the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which include avoiding social gatherings of 10 or more people, practicing social distancing of 6 feet, and employing frequent, thorough hand washing, and surface disinfecting. 

It is important to note that these orders do not mandate sheltering in place. 

We want and need businesses to continue operating. Offices and workplaces may remain open, but employers should only require essential employees to report to the place of work and should, where feasible, allow and encourage employees to work from home or other remote sites.

Employees who do go to work should also practice good hygiene as well as best health practices to minimize exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.

The more Texans do to reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained, and the sooner these Executive Orders will expire.

Do the Governor’s Executive Orders apply to churches and houses of worship?

  • Churches and houses of worship are not social gatherings. Places of worship are especially important in times of great community and personal need. 

  • We rely on all local and community leaders to prioritize the health of those they serve and to protect public health. 

  • Churches are capable of engaging in social distancing and the recommended hygiene and sanitizing standards. 

  • As long as federal and CDC guidelines are followed, individual churches, congregations and houses of worship may determine their own operating hours and service offerings. Many are already offering services online. 


Do the Governor’s Executive Orders apply to daycare centers?

  • Daycare centers are critical to working Texas families, and the State deems them an essential service. 

  • We rely on daycare operators to prioritize the health of the children and families they serve and to protect public health. 

  • Because peace of mind is critical for parents when it comes to their childcare needs, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services has issued strict standards for daycare operations to protect the health of the children, families and communities served.

  • As long as the HHS guidelines are strictly followed, daycare centers and licensed individual providers may continue operating. 

  • And the State of Texas has identified expanding daycare options as a high priority, especially for essential workers such as healthcare professionals.  


Do the Governor’s Executive Orders apply to all private businesses?

  • We rely on all businesses to prioritize the health of their employees and their customers and to protect public health. 

  • We want and need businesses to continue operating. Offices and workplaces may remain open, but employers should only require essential employees to report to the place of work and should, where feasible, allow and encourage employees to work from home or other remote sites.

  • Employees who do go to work should also practice good hygiene as well as best health practices to minimize exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.

  • As long as federal and CDC guidelines are followed, private businesses may determine their own operating hours and service offerings. 

  • For common work areas or lunch rooms, businesses must follow federal guidelines: no groups of 10 or more people, allow social distancing of 6 feet, and ensure frequent, thorough hand washing and surface disinfecting.


Do the Governor’s Executive Orders apply to all public and private schools from PreK through elementary, high school, community college and university? 

  • Yes. All schools in Texas are temporarily closed through April 3, 2020, or later if extended by order. 

  • STAAR testing requirements have been waived for this school year. 

  • However, learning is not suspended. Schools are encouraged to offer online and other distance-learning options.

  • The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is providing guidance to public school districts.

  • TEA has created a Texas Students MealFinder Map. [need to find direct live link]

  • The Higher Education Coordinating Board is providing guidance to public institutions of higher education. 

  • Questions should be directed to local school districts, community college districts or university systems. 


Do the Governor’s Executive Orders closing bars and dine-in restaurants apply to walk-in pickups or the drive-through at restaurants?

  • No. 

  • We rely on all businesses to prioritize the health of their employees and their customers and to protect public health. 

  • As long as federal and CDC guidelines are followed — no groups of 10 or more people, allowing social distancing of 6 feet, and ensuring frequent, thorough hand washing and surface disinfecting — restaurants may offer walk-in pickups and drive-through service.

  • And we continue to evaluate best public health practices. 


Do the Governor’s Executive Orders apply to salons, barbers and hair stylists?

  • No. 

  • We rely on all businesses to prioritize the health of their employees and their customers and to protect public health. 

  • As long as federal and CDC guidelines are followed, private businesses may determine their own operating hours and service offerings. 

  • While maintaining social distancing of 6 feet is difficult for personal services businesses such as salons, barbers and hairstylists, all other precautions can and should be taken by customers and service professionals.

  • We continue to evaluate best public health practices.  



The Governor’s Executive Orders apply to gyms. Do they also apply to personal trainers? 

  • No. 

  • We rely on all businesses to prioritize the health of their employees and their customers and to protect public health. 

  • As long as federal and CDC guidelines are followed, private businesses may determine their own operating hours and service offerings.

  • While maintaining social distancing of 6 feet is difficult for personal services businesses such as personal fitness training, all other precautions can and should be taken by customers and service professionals.

  • We continue to evaluate best public health practices.  


Do the Governor’s Executive Orders apply to weddings and funerals?

  • Even in times of emergency, it is important that we mark important milestones and celebrate as family. 

  • As long as federal and CDC guidelines are followed — no groups of 10 or more people, which can be fulfilled through separation of groups and allowing social distancing of 6 feet, while ensuring frequent, thorough hand washing, and surface disinfecting –— wedding and funerals can be held.

  • Sharing services online is also encouraged.


Do the Governor’s Executive Orders apply to dentists or other medical providers?

  • No. Medical health services are essential.

  • We rely on all medical providers to prioritize the health of their employees and their patients and to protect public health. 

  • All federal and CDC guidelines should be followed.

  • Dentists and medical providers may determine their own operating hours and service offerings. 


Closing:

Finally, these Executive Orders do not prohibit you from going to the grocery store, gas station or bank. 

All critical infrastructure will remain open and operational. Domestic travel will be unrestricted. Government entities and businesses will continue to provide essential services. And we want and need businesses to continue operating — safely.

Working together, we must defeat COVID-19 so that we can get back to work and enjoy the blessings of this great state. 

No one responds to challenges better than Texans. We are #TexasStrong.

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