Texas issues statewide public health disaster declaration

Abbott: "We must defeat COVID-19"

Talk 1370 Newsroom
March 19, 2020 - 12:28 pm
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

File photo/Office of the Governor

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Texas officials have issued a statewide public health disaster declaration, in the latest effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made the announcement at the Capitol Thursday afternoon, flanked by state officials including Lt. Gov Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

An executive order issued by Abbott related to the declaration prohibits community gatherings of 10 or more across the state; closes bars, restaurant dining rooms, and gyms; prohibits people from visiting nursing homes except for critical care; and closes schools across the state until at least April 3. Restaurants are encouraged to provide take-out and delivery services, but must close all common dining rooms.

The executive order lines the state up with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are doing this now today so we can get back to business as usual more quickly," Abbott said.

According to Gov. Abbott, it's the first time a statewide health disaster has been issued since 1901.

Thursday's move was not entirely unexpected. In a press conference in Arlington on Wednesday, Abbott indicated he was beginning to change his mind on issuing statewide restrictions, saying he wanted to get feedback from local officials first.

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