Governor Abbott Extends Social Distancing And Business Closures Order As Death Toll Hits 41

Chris Fox
March 31, 2020 - 6:27 pm

AUSTIN (KRLD) - At a press conference from the State Capitol Governor Abbott extended social distancing guidelines and non-essential business closures through April 30 and Texas schools will remain closed until at least May 4.

"As the President has made clear, we are not yet done with our response," Abbott said from the Texas Capitol, flanked by state leaders including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. "We've come too far to falter now. We've made tremendous strides but we have not yet reached our destination."

According to the order, essential services will consist of everything listed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s guidance on essential critical infrastructure workforce and include sectors such as public health, transportation, food and agriculture and more.

Religious services are also deemed an essential service and must either be conducted virtually or abide by appropriate social distancing measures if in-person, Abbott said, giving an example of a "drive-up" service where people remain in their cars.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management may approve and add additional essential services and will maintain a list at: tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices.

"In short, what this provides is that Texans are expected to limit personal interactions that could lead to the spread of COVID-19, while also still having the freedom to conduct daily activities such as going to the grocery store, so long as you are following the presidential standard of good distance practices," Abbott said.

According to the executive order, businesses people should avoid visiting in-person include gyms, massage parlors, tattoo and piercing studios, cosmetology salons, and dining-in at restaurants and bars. Drive-through or take-out orders are still allowed and encouraged, Abbott said.

By the time of the Tuesday press conference, 42,922 Texans had been tested with 3,266 testing positive for COVID-19 across 122 counties. 41 Texans have died due to the virus.