No State-Wide Shut-Down (Yet) in Texas, But Various Cities/Counties Issue “Stay Home” Orders

By Tracy L. McCreight

As of March 24, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had not ordered a statewide shelter-in-place order.  However, numerous Texas cities (or their related county governments) such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso and close-in suburbs have issued “Stay Home – Work Safe” or “Stay Home – Stay Safe” orders.  The orders command citizens of those particular jurisdictions to stay in their residences and state that they may leave only for essential activities, or to provide or perform essential governmental functions, or to operate essential businesses.  Each of the orders is continued to various dates in April or until further notice.

Essential businesses typical include (but are not limited to) essential healthcare operations, essential governmental functions, essential critical infrastructure, essential retail such as grocery stores and pharmacies, food cultivation, financial institutions, mail and delivery services, hardware and supply stores, funeral services, providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, news media, and child care, among others.  Critical infrastructure may include construction, depending on the purpose.   

On March 25, 2020, President Trump declared that a major disaster exists in Texas and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts for COVID-19.