Texas Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Relating To Expanding Travel Without Restrictions
(STL.News) – WHEREAS, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, certifying under Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, on April 12, 2020, I issued a proclamation renewing the disaster declaration for all counties in Texas; and
WHEREAS, the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Dr. John Hellerstedt, has determined that COVID-19 represents a public health disaster within the meaning of Chapter 81 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and renewed that determination on April 17, 2020; and
WHEREAS, I have issued executive orders and suspensions of Texas laws in response to COVID-19, aimed at protecting the health and safety of Texans and ensuring an effective response to this disaster; and
WHEREAS, many early cases of COVID-19 in the State of Texas were caused by people who transmitted the virus to Texans after traveling here from other states and countries; and
WHEREAS, given the risk of COVID-19 spreading, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, called for people traveling from the New York metropolitan area to self-quarantine for 14 days; and
WHEREAS, I therefore issued Executive Order GA-11 on March 26, 2020, to impose a mandatory self-quarantine of 14 days for air travelers flying to Texas from certain areas experiencing substantial community spread of COVID-19, including New York and the City of New Orleans, and by proclamation on March 29, 2020, I added the State of Louisiana as well as several other states and cities; and
WHEREAS, I also issued Executive Order GA-12 on March 29, 2020, to impose a mandatory self-quarantine of 14 days for roadway travelers coming to Texas from Louisiana; and
WHEREAS, I have issued several executive orders to impose social-distancing restrictions and other obligations on Texans that are aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, including Executive Order GA-08, Executive Order GA-14, and Executive Order GA-16; and
WHEREAS, after more than two weeks of heightened restrictions, it was clear that the disease still presented a serious threat across Texas that could persist in certain areas, but also that COVID-19 had wrought havoc on many Texas businesses and workers affected by the restrictions that were necessary to protect human life; and
WHEREAS, on April 17, 2020, I therefore issued executive orders to begin the process of safely and strategically restarting and revitalizing all aspects of the Lone Star State—work, school, entertainment, and culture—including the creation of an advisory strike force to provide recommendations; and
WHEREAS, today, I am expanding the reopening of businesses and services in Texas by issuing Executive Order GA-18 to replace Executive Order GA-16; and
WHEREAS, other states, including Louisiana, have likewise imposed social-distancing restrictions and other obligations on their people that have similarly slowed the spread of COVID-19, making it appropriate to reconsider the scope of the travel restrictions imposed by Executive Order GA-11 and Executive Order GA-12; and
WHEREAS, the “governor is responsible for meeting . . . the dangers to the state and people presented by disasters” under Section 418.011 of the Texas Government Code, and the legislature has given the governor broad authority to fulfill that responsibility; and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.012, the “governor may issue executive orders . . . hav[ing] the force and effect of law;” and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.017(a), the “governor may use all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with a disaster;” and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.018(c), the “governor may control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area and the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in the area;” and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.173, failure to comply with any executive order issued during the COVID-19 disaster is an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both fine and confinement.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, do hereby order the following on a statewide basis effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 1, 2020:
Executive Order GA-12 is hereby rescinded and terminated in its entirety. Executive Order GA-11 and the March 29, 2020 proclamation are hereby rescinded and terminated to the extent applicable to travelers from the City of New Orleans or the State of Louisiana. Any mandatory self-quarantine already in effect as a result of these executive orders, to the extent applicable to travelers from the City of New Orleans or the State of Louisiana, is terminated immediately as of the effective date of this executive order.
Executive Order GA-11 and the March 29, 2020, proclamation are otherwise superseded by this executive order, except that any mandatory self-quarantine already in effect thereunder, as of the effective date of this executive order, shall continue until its expiration as set forth in Executive Order GA-11.
The following restrictions shall remain in place:
Every person who enters the State of Texas as the final destination through an airport, from a point of origin or point of last departure in the following—State of California; State of Connecticut; State of New York; State of New Jersey; State of Washington; City of Atlanta, Georgia; City of Chicago, Illinois; City of Detroit, Michigan; or City of Miami, Florida—shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Texas or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter. The governor may by proclamation add to or subtract from the list of states and cities covered by this executive order. This order to self-quarantine shall not apply to people traveling in connection with military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions, as may be determined by the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Each person covered under this order to self-quarantine shall be responsible for all associated costs, including transportation, lodging, food, and medical care.
A covered person shall use a form prescribed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to designate a quarantine location in Texas, such as a residence or a hotel, and provide a full name, date of birth, home address, telephone number, and driver license or passport information. DPS Troopers, or other approved peace officers, shall collect a completed form from each covered person immediately upon disembarking and verify it against the person’s driver license or passport. Providing false information on this form is a criminal offense under Section 37.10 of the Texas Penal Code. Questions about this form should be directed to DPS at (800) 525-5555.
A covered person shall proceed directly from the airport to the designated quarantine location entered on the DPS form. Any covered person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 shall be escorted to the designated quarantine location by a DPS Trooper.
A covered person shall remain in the designated quarantine location for a period of 14 days or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter, leaving only to seek medical care or to depart from Texas. During that period, a covered person shall not allow visitors into or out of the designated quarantine location, other than a health department employee, physician, or health care provider, and shall not visit any public spaces.
DPS Special Agents will conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance by confirming the physical presence of covered persons. Any failure to comply with this order to self-quarantine shall be a criminal offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both.
This executive order supersedes Executive Order GA-11 and Executive Order GA-12 as set forth above, but does not supersede Executive Orders GA-10, GA-13, GA-17, GA-18, or GA-19. This executive order shall remain in effect and in full force until modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the governor.