Abbott Delivers COVID-19 Executive Orders

March 31, 2020

Legislative News

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On Thursday, March 19, Gov. Abbott addressed all Texans stating that because the coronavirus had grown into an international pandemic, Texas needs a unified response to limit the spread of the virus as the number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths continue to increase. He noted the state is filled with outstanding local officials already responding to the crisis and that his executive orders will empower these officials to take action to maximize health and safety.

Abbott ordered that:

  • Every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people
  • Dine-in services at restaurants and bars be suspended, but drive-thru, take-out and delivery services still be available.
  • Fitness facilities be closed.
  • Visit to nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities, except for critical care, be suspended.  
  • Schools be closed.

Going forward: County offices continue to be responsive even when faced with challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. Offering assistance, the Governor issued several proclamations affecting Texans and the daily operations of county offices. Some of these include:

The proclamations remain in effect for the duration of the declared disaster which began March 13. In addition, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt declared a public health disaster in Texas. The governor's executive orders are in effect from midnight March 20th until April 3.

Judicial Education

Additionally, an emergency order regarding certain rules of judicial education was signed by the Court of Criminal Appeals on March 30 and states that:

  • Sections of state statutes requiring live, continuous hours of judicial education while coping with this disaster are suspended.
  • Continuing judicial education hours provided by electronic means and including on-demand webinars and audio or video recordings from live seminars are permissible.
  • Required continuing judicial education hours that cannot be obtained within the reporting deadline, may be fulfilled by electronic means, through one of the provisions above.

The order is effective beginning March 30 and remains in effect until 30 days after the Governor lifts the Declaration of Disaster.

Additional information and resources on COVID-19 can also be found on TAC's website.  For more information, contact Aurora Flores at (800) 456-5974.