Smith County Issues Stay-at-Home Directive
By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – In the fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued yet another executive order on Thursday, March 26. His latest order is aimed at people coming into the Lone Star State from the New York Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as the city of New Orleans.
During the Thursday press conference to announce the executive order, Gov. Abbott said, “The State of Texas continues to act upon the recommendations of top state, federal, and local health experts as we implement a comprehensive strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19. The New York Tri-State Area and the City of New Orleans have become major centers of this pandemic, and it is vital that we take necessary precautions to prevent additional exposure that could originate from people traveling from these areas to Texas. This Executive Order is another important measure we are taking to protect the health and safety of Texans, and we will continue to take any action necessary to mitigate exposure to COVID-19 in our state.”
The latest executive order takes effect at midnight on Saturday, March 28.
The order states, “Every person who enters the State of Texas as the final destination through an airport, from a point of origin or point of last departure in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or the City of New Orleans, or in any other state or city as may be proclaimed hereafter, shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Texas or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter.”
The governor also put some teeth in the executive order saying Department of Public Safety Special Agents “… will conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance by confirming the physical presence of covered persons. Any failure to comply with this order to self-quarantine shall be a criminal offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days.”
In other COVID-19 news, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran issued a “stay-at-home” directive for Smith County residents effective at 11:59 pm on Friday, March 27.
A stay-at-home order means you should remain at home and away from other people unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out. Exceptions are made for medical care, food, and essential work.
According to the www.CBS19.tv website, specifics of the order include:
- Essential businesses can continue to operate.
- Outdoor recreation is allowed as long as social distancing is practiced; City parks will remain open.
- If you’re a patient under investigation, you and members of your household are to stay home.
- Government, healthcare and law enforcement agencies will continue to operate.
- Small businesses that have no interaction with the public can continue to operate.
- Residents can go to the grocery store.
- Residents can go to the doctor and pharmacy.
- Residents can pick up essentials for neighbors or loved ones in need of assistance.
- Residents can grab takeout from restaurants, have food delivered or get food via drive-thru eateries.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.