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The Executive Order Also Shutters All School Campuses And Bans Gatherings Of More Than 10, Encourages Ordering Take-Out And Delivery From Local Restaurants.

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order as part of the state government’s “unified, robust response” to the coronavirus pandemic.

Acting upon his state disaster declaration from last week, as well as an additional public health disaster declaration issued Thursday morning, the governor issued the following four orders:

  1. No gatherings of 10 or more people are allowed at any location within in the state.
  2. All bars, dining rooms and gyms across Texas must close. (Delivery, drive-through and pickup orders will remain allows and “highly encouraged” for use, especially in light of rushes.)
  3. All school campuses in Texas must close.
  4. No visiting of nursing homes, retirement centers or long-term healthcare facilities is allowed, unless to provide critical assistance.

These mandates go into effect at midnight on March 20 and will last through midnight on April 3 — but “could be extended,” Abbott said.

Although the state of disaster and public health disaster declarations give state officials quarantine authority should they needed it, the governor was emphatic in stating that his most recent mandates are “not a shelter-in-place order.”

Under these “limited duration” measures, critical infrastructure will continue to operate — including office, government service and travel-related facilities. Still, officials encourage Texans to work from home where and when possible. Grocery stores, gas stations and other supply chain-oriented businesses will also continue to operate as usual.

SEE ALSO: CITY OF DALLAS EXTENDS STATE OF DISASTER THROUGH APRIL 29. // By Extending Its State Of Disaster Declaration, The City Of Dallas Orders Its Bars, Dine-In Restaurants & More To Stay Closed Until Further Notice. (Delivery And Take-Out Options Remain Available.)

Thursday’s orders, the governor said, come in response to the at least 140 confirmed positive cases and at least three coronavirus-related deaths across 27 counties in Texas.

Social distancing, Abbott said, is “the only tool we have available to us” to fight the pandemic.

“The sooner we do this, the sooner we can get to the other side,” Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick added. “It really is up to the 29 million Texas to really step up.”

While he left the door open to extending his current mandates beyond their current April 3 extension — as well as the possibility of issuing a full shelter-in-place or quarantine order at a later date — Abbott said he will use that authority “only if needed.”

Cover photo of Gov. Abbott by Manuel Frayre.

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