COVID-19 Texas News for Lobbyists

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order, Implements Statewide Essential Services and Activities Protocols. On Tuesday, March 31, Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference to provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state. The Governor’s order also extended the closure of schools, visitation at assisted or long-term care facilities, restaurant dine-in service, food courts, cosmetology shops, etc. until at least May 4, 2020. “Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” said Governor Abbott. “Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve.”

Under the order, effective from April 2nd until April 30th, essential activities include going to the grocery store, bank, or hardware store as well as physical activity like biking, walking, hunting and fishing. Religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship are also considered essential. However, the CDC distancing and hygiene guidelines apply at these religious services.

The Texas Department of Emergency management has issued guidance on which industries should be considered essential critical infrastructure sectors. The full list of essential services can be found by viewing TDEM’s advisory memorandum at The governor’s full emergency order can be viewed here.

The big news is the prior orders are now statewide and essential critical infrastructure mirrors federal decrees. Today’s executive order by Gov. Abbott’s trumps all local governments’ proclamations and orders, on this subject, statewide.