March 20, 2020
Governor Abbott issued a proclamation yesterday allowing local governments to postpone May 2 elections until November 3 and urged local officials to take advantage of this change to reduce COVID-19 virus exposure.
Governor Abbott will make an announcement on March 19 about a state policy regarding public gatherings, bars and restaurants. Until now, these decisions have been left to local authorities.
March 19, 2020
Governor Abbott issued a declaration of disaster as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. His order covers every county in Texas. This declaration gives the Governor and state agencies greater flexibility to respond to and contain this outbreak. The disaster declaration enhances state government’s ability to respond and enhance preparedness by activating the state emergency management plan. This plan allows greater ability to move resources around the state, including equipment and people, and allow state regulatory systems to be used more efficiently. The Governor has asked for designation from the Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Declaration to allow access to Economic Injury Disaster Loans for the entire state. Additionally, Gov. Abbott has activated the Texas National Guard to be prepared to assist with response efforts for COVID 19.
Many state agencies have ordered their staffs to work from home and beginning today the Texas Capitol Building will be closed to the public. Most agency public meetings and hearings have been postponed.
Cities, counties, school districts and universities are allowed to exercise their discretion to respond to the virus as they see fit. This includes closures, limits on public gatherings, policies to encourage social distancing and other tactics. The Governor has waived the upcoming administration of the statewide STAAR test for K-12 public schools. About half (560 districts) school districts have extended their spring break and are unsure about whether to reopen. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told superintendents and legislators that decisions about extended school closures will be left up to local authorities.
Below you will find links to the Governor’s Executive Orders and other notices related to COVID-19:
Waivers Issued by the Governor
- Temporarily Closing DPS Driver License Offices
- Allowing Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages With Food
- Allowing For Postponement Of May 2 Local Elections
- Extending Driver License Renewal Deadlines
- Speeding Payment Of New Unemployment Benefits
- Expanding Patient Access to Telemedicine Care
- Expanding Hospital Capacity
- Vehicle Registration, Titling, And Parking Placard Regulations
- STAAR Testing Requirements
- Ensuring Students Receive Work-Study Funding
- Allowing Trucks From Alcohol Industry To Deliver Grocery Supplies
- Certain State Trucking Regulations
- State Of Disaster