Texas schools will remain closed until May 4 and social distancing orders have been extended until April 30. Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday at a press conference.
While Abbott encouraged Texans to stay at home until April 30, he did not call this action a “stay-at-home order”, noting that Texans are still allowed to participate in essential activities such as grocery shopping and getting take-out from restaurants. Hunting, fishing and even religious services are allowed if social distancing guidelines are followed. He stated that “drive-up services,” where people would stay in their vehicles for the entirety of the church service, could work as Easter approaches.
The penalty for failing to comply with Abbott’s executive order is a fine not to exceed $1,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both. Abbott said law enforcement has been given authorization to enforce the executive order. He said violators can also be subject to quarantine order also for failure to comply.
Abbott noted that while this executive order overrides local jurisdiction rules, cities are allowed to push for further restrictions not in the executive order if they wish.
Abbott said that as of noon Tuesday, 42,922 Texans have been tested for COVID-19. Of these, 3,266 people have been confirmed to have the virus and 41 people have died. Out of the 254 Texas counties, 122 have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19.
A full list of allowed activities is available here.