Gov. Greg Abbott Orders Texas Schools to Close Until May 4th, 2020
Tuesday afternoon (March 31st), Texas governor Greg Abbott issued an order closing all schools in Texas until May 4th. That date could be extended.
Additionally, Gov. Abbott's new order further minimizes non-essential gatherings and in-person contact to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The order effectively closes all nonessential businesses in the state through April 30th. The list of essential businesses which will remain open are:
- HEALTHCARE / PUBLIC HEALTH
- LAW ENFORCEMENT, PUBLIC SAFETY, AND OTHER FIRST RESPONDERS
- FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
- WATER AND WASTEWATER
- TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS
- PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT SERVICES
- COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
- OTHER COMMUNITY- OR GOVERNMENT-BASED OPERATIONS AND ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS
- CRITICAL MANUFACTURING
- HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
- FINANCIAL SERVICES
- DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL BASE
- COMMERCIAL FACILITIES
- RESIDENTIAL/SHELTER FACILITIES AND SERVICES
- HYGIENE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship also fall under the 'essential' umbrella.
Gov. Abbott's decision comes as Texas broke 3,000 cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) this week. At the time of his order, he said around 43,000 Texans have been tested for the virus. The number of positive cases stood at 3,266, with 51 Texans dead.
Lubbock County has seen one death to date of the coronavirus, with 77 confirmed cases as of March 30th.
Gov. Abbott did not issue a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order for Texas.
"This is not a stay at home strategy," he said. "This is a standard that is based on essential services and essential activities."
The CDC recommends staying six feet apart from other people, practicing good hygiene via hand washing and hand sanitizer with at least a 60 percent alcohol factor, and not touching your face with your unwashed hands.
MORE TO EXPLORE: See the the COVID-19 stimulus bill broken down by the numbers