Texas as a whole is not sheltering-in-place, although Dallas County issued such an order over the weekend.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he does not support shelter-in-place orders do curtail the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19, leaving it up to cities and counties to determine the best courses of action, dispelling rumors to the contrary.
In a weekend update Abbott said, “I am governor of 254 counties in the state of Texas. More than 200 of those counties still have zero in terms of people testing positive for COVID-19. The reality is I know as the public knows, that cases of COVID-19 are increasing in places like Dallas, in Houston, in Austin, in several other areas.”
Also over the weekend: Democratic Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins gave a shelter-in-place order responding to an uptick in the number of positive test-cases. The order allows for residents to leave for walks, grocery trips, health care, and other essential activities.
A memo must have gone out immediately, with a number of Texas House Democrats calling for a California-style sheltering order.
My business is an example why a statewide mandate from @GovAbbott is needed on a “shelter in place” order. City of Carrollton is in 3 counties. Employees residing in all 3 counties & animals that need to be taken care of. 3 counties +3 orders=confusion #txlege #COVID19
— Michelle Beckley (@ForHD65) March 23, 2020
The medical experts are warning that the current social distancing rules w/o a statewide shelter in place order will still overwhelm TX hospitals by 4/28 & result in the death of 430K Texans. That’s a pretty compelling reason. #TXLege pic.twitter.com/Lwbwv4fCbN
— Rafael Anchía (@RafaelAnchia) March 23, 2020
From the hip: Let’s not kid ourselves.
Shelter-in-place excludes a lot of people, which of course includes the law enforcement, fire, and emergency workers that will be keeping an eye on us, not to mention the media. It’s highly likely that state legislatures and members of Congress and their staff will find a loophole and will be going about business and flying on airliners.
Judge Jenkins’s order is seven pages — half of the state of California’s (which makes an exception for the entertainment industry, by the way). Dallas County makes room for several “essential businesses” which covers a host of workers deemed too important to stay home. We include them below. Before reading through the list, we ask whether these workers are somehow immune to COVID-19 while the the non-essential hoi polloi are doing nothing but spreading the virus in our day-to-day meager activities.
Essential Healthcare Operations
Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies,
Other healthcare facilities,
Mental health providers,
Substance abuse service providers,
Medical research, laboratory services or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services,
Home-based and residential-based care for seniors, adults, or children,
Veterinary care and all health and welfare services provided to animals.
Essential Government Functions
“All services provided by local governments needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government
agencies to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public.” [Read: elected officials get to walk around town.]
Essential Critical Infrastructure
Public works construction,
Residential and commercial construction,
Roads and highways,
solid waste collection and removal,
Defense and national security-related operations,
Essential manufacturing operations
Food service providers, including grocery stores, warehouse stores, big-box stores, bodegas, liquor stores, gas stations and
Convenience stores, farmers’ markets that sell food products and household staples. Food cultivation, including Farming, fishing, and livestock.
Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences.
Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out.
Schools and other entities that typically provide free services to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only.
Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers.
Gas stations, auto-supply, auto and bicycle repair, hardware stores, and related facilities.
Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home.
Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged
“Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.”
Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses.
Trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal,
Mail and shipping services,
Maintenance and security, warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, storage for essential businesses,
Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries,
Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers
Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities.
Businesses that supply other essential businesses with support or supplies needed to operate.
and other media services.
“Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted.”