Governor Greg Abbott today (Thursday) held a press conference at the State Capitol where he issued an Executive Order mandating a self-quarantine of 14 days for individuals traveling to Texas as their final destination through an airport from the Tri-State Area of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut as well as the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
This Executive Order is consistent with the guidance of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). During this period, a quarantined person shall not allow visitors into or out of the designated quarantine location, other than a physician or healthcare provider, and cannot visit any public spaces. These mandatory self-quarantines will last a period of 14 days or for the duration of a person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter.
“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,” said Governor Abbott. “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.”
Those entering Texas as their final destination from the designated areas will use a form from DPS to designate their quarantine location. DPS special agents will conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance. Failure to comply with this order is considered a criminal offense that is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail, or both.
This order to self-quarantine shall not apply to people traveling in connection with military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions, as may be determined by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). This Executive Order will remain in effect and in full force until modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the Governor.
The Governor was joined for the press conference by Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, and TDEM Chief Nim Kidd.