Statewide restrictions on public gatherings

This was expected.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday took sweeping action to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus across Texas, issuing an executive order that will close restaurants and schools, among other things.

During a news conference at the state Capitol, Abbott announced an executive order that will limit social gatherings to 10 people, prohibit eating and drinking at restaurants and bars while still allowing takeout, close gyms, ban people from visiting nursing homes except for critical care and temporarily close schools. The executive order is effective midnight Friday through midnight April 3, Abbott said.

The executive order reflects federal guidance that came out earlier this week.


Abbott also announced that state health commissioner John Hellerstedt declared a public health disaster earlier Thursday. Abbott said it is his understanding that the last time such a declaration was made in Texas was 1901.

Not much to add here. Cities and counties have been taking action along these lines, though there have been holdouts. (Harris County is considering further action as well.) That makes state action the appropriate solution, so good for Abbott though we can certainly debate what took so long. Be that as it may, here we are. The Chron has more.

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3 Responses to Statewide restrictions on public gatherings

  1. Wolfgang says:

    If not a leader, at least Abbott has seen the light and has become a follower. He would be more convincing, though, if he practiced what’s being recommended: social distancing, such as keeping 4+ feet distance from others that appear with him, and perhaps demonstrating the use of hand sanitizer.

    Again, our local leaders (county judge, mayor, representatives) are ahead of the governor in modeling best practices.

    Also note that the previously recommended inter-personal distance recommended by WHO (1 metre, i.e. ca 3 feet) has been expanded in many jurisdictions.

    Elsewhere, even Boris Johnson (of herd immunity infamy) has already been seen on TV and web doing the hand-washing routine (with song). Austrian president Van der Bellen “enacted” a suggested alternative greeting in his (solitary) televised address to the republic, along with his verbal admonition to avoid hand-shaking. Angela Merkel has taken the necessary precautionary distancing steps too, and has not threatened to evict only those whose reporting she doesn’t like, to reduce the infection risk.
    See speeches in English translation here for comparative purposes:

    Watch the trend toward on-line press-conferences. The BBC already relies heavily on safe video-interviews from home offices in different parts of Europe and world.

  2. Wolfgang says:

    Here is a report from the mayor of a hard-hit city in Italy (in English) from Spiegel International:

    Italian Mayor on the Coronavirus: ‘Make Good Use of the Time You Still Have’

    Bergamo is the epicenter of the corona crisis in Europe right now. Close to 400 people have died there. In an interview, Mayor Giorgio Gori describes the harrowing developments in local hospitals and warns Germany and other countries of what they are facing.
    Interview Conducted By Frank Hornig in Rome

  3. Pingback: The state of the state’s response – Off the Kuff

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