Austin Criminal Defense Law Firm – Texas Governor Greg Abbott has officially extended the state’s social distancing order through April 30 and has additionally ordered the state’s schools to remain closed through May 4 as a way to help continue the fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that continues to grip the world. 

Under Abbott’s revised order, only essential businesses will be permitted to remain open throughout the month of April. A few examples of businesses that will be forced to remain closed for another 30 days:

*Gyms

*Massage clinics

*Cosmetology salons 

On the other hand, businesses such as grocery stores, hardware stores, banks, and restaurants and bars that offer food delivery and pickup options are considered to be essential businesses, meaning that they will be permitted to remain open.

Abbott’s revised order states, in part, the following:

“It will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 12:01 AM on April 2, 2020 and will end on April 30, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.” 

The Texas Division of Emergency Management has also taken the step of publishing a list of essential services on their official website, with additional services potentially being added to the list pending their approval.

Here is the current list of essential services provided by the state of Texas:

*Healthcare/public health

*Law enforcement/public safety/other first responders

*Food/agriculture

*Energy

*Water/wastewater

*Transportation/logistics

*Public works/infrastructure support services

*Communications/information technology

*Other community or government-based operations/essential functions

*Critical manufacturing

*Hazardous materials

*Financial services

*Chemical

*Defense industrial base

*Commercial facilities

*Residential/shelter facilities/services

*Hygiene products/services 

The state of Texas is also now adhering to the guidelines and protocols issued by the federal government in terms of recommendations involving social distancing. Last Sunday, President Trump extended the country’s social distancing guidelines until April 30.

According to Governor Abbott’s revised order, all state law enforcement officers will be able to enforce the order. Those who are found to be in violation of it will run the risk of being fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to up to 180 days in jail. Additionally, the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services will also have the authority to impose a quarantine on those individuals who are found to be in violation of Governor Abbott’s order.

As previously noted, schools throughout the state of Texas will remain closed until at least May 4; however, there had previously been a discussion in regards to closing schools across the state for the remainder of the academic school year. Governor Abbott, however, stated that while he has the authority to make sure that something like this happens, he will be holding further discussions soon in regards to what should be done about the school closures.

Additionally, Governor Abbott also gave an update regarding the state’s latest numbers for testing and confirmed coronavirus cases as of noon on Tuesday:

*43,000 tests

*3,266 tests resulting in positive coronavirus diagnoses

*41 deaths due to coronavirus

*122 counties reporting positive coronavirus cases 

Governor Abbott’s latest press conference took place one day after he announced that public safety employees would be reimbursed for specific medical expenses that are related to the treatment of coronavirus / COVID-19 in the event that they were to become infected. He had the following, in part, to say in an official statement:

“These brave men and women are on the front lines and risking potential exposure to keep our communities safe. By waiving these statutory provisions, Texas will ensure that those who may contract COVID-19 will have the support they need to pay for medical expenses.”

Governor Abbott also recently issued executive orders that mandate self-quarantine for air travelers from specific cities and states, as well as all road travelers coming to Texas from Louisiana.

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