Texas declares health disaster, leaving take-out only restaurants open

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Friday, March 20, 2020
Governor Abbott declares public health emergency
Texas Governor Abbott declared a public health emergency, which hasn't been declared in Texas since 1901.

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- With schools, gyms, bars and restaurants in the Houston area already shut down to slow the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott mandated the same executive order throughout the state of Texas.

On Thursday, Abbott announced the order for the shutdown to cover all parts of the state, leaving no county in defiance of federal guidelines.

The order is in effect at midnight Friday and will go on until April 3, with an extension pending.

Abbott exempted restaurants with take-out and drive-thru services.

Abbott also ordered no social gatherings of more than 10 people as part of the order.

SEE MORE: List of canceled events and closures in Houston-area amid coronavirus concerns

In terms of schools, campuses are closed but classes will go on. Abbott stopped short of a shelter-in-place mandate, which orders residents to remain in their homes aside from essential trips for medical attention or for groceries.

SEE ALSO: Houston-area school closings and delays during coronavirus

Nursing home visits are also banned, unless to provide critical assistance.

According to Texas Health and Human Services, order does not apply to child care facilities including day cares, group day care homes or family homes. All child care facilities should continue to follow guidance from Texas Child Care Licensing, the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The executive order adopts standards set federally by Pres. Trump and the CDC.

The mandate came as part of a public health disaster, the state's first since 1901, according to Abbott, during the era of smallpox.

SEE ALSO:Impact of coronavirus on southeast Texas

The announcement came in the midst of the staggering number of cases identified between Abbott's disaster declaration last Friday and Thursday's order.

According to Abbott, there were at least 140 cases of COVID-19 throughout the state, which was a 300 percent increase from six days ago. Late last week, 10 counties had cases. On Thursday, 27 counties identified coronavirus patients.

And since the order last Friday, three people have died from the illness in Texas.

MORE: List of nationwide closures during coronavirus

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