With the threat of COVID-19 still spreading in more areas of the country, countless health experts are strongly encouraging government officials to implement “stay-at-home” orders. These orders will help “flatten the curve” of the virus, they say, and as a result, help reduce the potential load on hospitals.
By March 25, 17 states will have implemented the “stay-at-home” order. Texas is not one of these states.
Today, 65 members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus urged Governor Greg Abbott to issue an executive order to implement the order to combat the coronavirus.
“The sooner our state and nation take the dramatic steps necessary to stop the spread of the virus, the sooner people will be able to get back to work, a day that cannot come soon enough,” Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Chris Turner said. “For these reasons, we urge Governor Abbott to use his authority to issue a statewide stay-at-home order. We stand ready to support the governor in this regard in any way that we can.”
Local Democratic officials are taking no chances. Numerous Texas cities and counties have issued “Stay Home, Work Safe” orders for all non-essential businesses and trips, including Austin and Travis County, Dallas and Dallas County, Harris County and Houston, San Antonio and Bexar County, and El Paso County.
“During times like this, we need moral leadership; leaders who are decisive and ready to turn advice into action for their community,” Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia said. “Democratic officials in Texas are defining leadership during this unprecedented time. They are protecting their communities, making smart decisions, and not sitting idly by as Republican state and federal officials put their head in the sand.”
Under the order, residents can still go to the grocery store, parks, and run other critical errands. Restaurants will continue operating drive-thru and take-out services. But officials advise restraint and maintaining a six-foot distance.
In a statement Tuesday morning, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the order would take effect at midnight: “Those of us whose jobs are essential to health and safety must do everything we can to maintain six feet from one another… If your work is essential you must work safe. Hence, stay home-work safe.”
Texas has seen 736 confirmed cases and 11 deaths, according to the state’s health agency.
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