By Kate Goodrich
In a tweet on April 5, 2020, Governor Abbott announced that the state has now established checkpoints at all roadway crossings from Louisiana into Texas. This is in addition to the previous travel restrictions that have already been ordered, including the mandatory self-quarantine of passengers who fly in to Texas by air from Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, and the states of Washington and California, or drive in to Texas from anywhere in Louisiana.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has set up checkpoints at all access points from Louisiana to inform drivers that immediately upon their arrival in Texas, they must self-quarantine for at least fourteen days. Travelers are being asked to complete forms with details about where they will be quarantining. The same case-by-case exemptions that the Governor had previously laid out are still applicable. These exemptions include interstate travel for military, commercial, health and other critical infrastructure workers.
This announcement comes one week after the Governor expanded the travel restriction to include Louisiana roadways and Texas DPS declared that it had no plans to impose vehicle checkpoints at the border. Throughout that one week, travelers had simply been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever was shorter. A violation of the self-quarantine is still punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both.
Executive Order GA 11 (March 26, 2020): Relating to airport screening and self-quarantine during the COVID-19 disaster»
Executive Order GA 12 (March 29, 2020): Relating to roadway screening and self-quarantine during the COVID-19 disaster»
On Sunday, March 30, 2020, Governor Abbott updated the state and issued two new Executive Orders to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
In his first Executive Order of the day, the governor expanded the 14-day mandatory quarantine requirements to also apply to travel by roadway from any location in Louisiana. He also announced that he is adding to the growing list of restricted Coronavirus “hot spots,” declaring that passengers who travel to Texas by air from Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, and the states of Washington and California will now be subject to the same restrictions he laid out on March 26. Anyone violating the quarantine order, which Texas Department of Public Safety has been tasked with enforcing, will be subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 or up to six months in jail.
In Sunday’s second Executive Order, Governor Abbott prohibited the release of criminals with a history of violent offenses. In his Executive Order, Abbott acknowledged the “unique challenges” that the jail population faces during a public health emergency, but preempted any counties that were considering releasing prisoners accused of or convicted of a violent offense in an effort to reduce their jail population. In his press conference, Governor Abbott said that “releasing dangerous criminals makes the state even less safe” and issued a proclamation that would block judges from releasing these inmates without a paid, cash bond.
By Denise Rose & Kate Goodrich
On March 26, 2020, Governor Abbott issued a new executive order that will require airborne incoming passengers from COVID-19 “hot spots” to mandatorily self-quarantine upon their arrival in Texas. A COVID-19 “hot spot” is currently defined as anyone flying from any airport in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut) or New Orleans, Louisiana. The mandatory quarantine will last 14 days or the duration of the passenger’s stay in Texas.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has been tasked with enforcing this Executive Order, and violators could receive up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Those who are self-quarantined will have to declare their quarantine location, are prohibited from visiting public spaces, and may not receive any visitors unless they are healthcare providers.
When answering questions after his live broadcast, the governor clarified that this Executive Order is limited to airway travel and reiterated that there are currently no restrictions on travel by roadway.
Currently, the Executive Order is limited to the above destinations, however Governor Abbott declared that he is considering adding California and Washington State to the restricted travel zones and will update the Executive Order as he sees fit to protect Texas citizens.