Gov. Abbott Extends Social Distancing Protocols & School Closings to Restrict Spread of CoronaVirus

Order urges Texans to stay at home except for "Essential Services & Activities"

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — 
Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday at the State Capitol that he was extending the existing social distancing guidelines originally set to expire last Monday until April 30th. Abbott also ordered a continuation of the closure of the state's schools through May 4th. The extension of the guidelines are in line with recommendations from state and national public health experts, Abbott said.

The governor made the announcement during a regular update on the state's response to COVID-19 CoronaVirus crisis alongside other state officials. The order also allows for religious services to continue, either remotely or as long as they follow social distancing guidelines.

During the update, Abbott noted that Tuesday's numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicate more than 42,000 Texans have been tested, with 3,266 positive cases confirmed and 41 deaths.

The new order calls on Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. Texans should stay at home, except for "Essential Services & Activities" through the month of April.

The list of "Essential Services & Activities" follows the federal government's definition of critical infrastructure sectors, which includes:
  • Chemical Materials Facilities & Manufacturing Logistics
  • Commercial Facilities
  • Communications & Information Technology
  • Community or Government-Based Operations & Essential Functions
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Energy Productiion & Processing
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Healthcare / Public Health
  • Hygiene Products & Services
  • Law Enforcement, Public Safety & other First Responders
  • Manufacturing Facilities & Logistics
  • Public Works Infrastructure Support Services
  • Residential-Shelter Facilities & Services
  • Transportation & Logistics
  • Water & Wastewater
Restaurants across the state continue to be encouraged to offer food and drink for takeout or delivery, while closing their dining rooms.

State officials have consistantly said the economy and people of Texas will soon come back stronger than ever, noting that Texans are supremely capable of weathering this storm if we work together and have faith – saying our strength lies in our communities,  families, and public services to meet the needs of those who are suffering.