Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Mandating 14-Day Quarantine For Travelers Arriving From New York Tri-State Area, New Orleans
WHEREAS, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, certifying under Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, the Texas Department of State Health Services has determined that, as of March 19, 2020, COVID-19 represents a public health disaster within the meaning of Chapter 81 of the Texas Health and Safety Code; and
WHEREAS, I issued Executive Order GA-08 on March 19, 2020, Executive Order GA-09 on March 22, 2020, and Executive Order GA-10 on March 24, 2020, all in response to the COVID-19 disaster; and
WHEREAS, many cases of COVID-19 in the State of Texas were caused by people who transmitted the virus to Texans after flying here from other states and countries; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, recently urged everyone who traveled from the New York metropolitan area to self-quarantine for 14 days to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread to others; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, likewise called for 14 days of self-quarantine of travelers from New York so that New York does not act as a “seeding point to the rest of the country;” and
WHEREAS, after the Governor of Florida imposed a quarantine on all air travelers arriving from the New York Tri-State Area, which is experiencing substantial community spread of COVID-19, the Mayor of New York City remarked to the press, “I understand it. We are the epicenter;” and
WHEREAS, the “governor is responsible for meeting . . . the dangers to the state and people presented by disasters” under Section 418.011 of the Texas Government Code, and the legislature has given the governor broad authority to fulfill that responsibility; and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.012, the “governor may issue executive orders . . . hav[ing] the force and effect of law;” and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.017(a), the “governor may use all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with a disaster;” and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.018(c), the “governor may control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area and the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in the area;” and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.173, failure to comply with any executive order issued during the COVID-19 disaster is an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both fine and confinement.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, do hereby order the following on a statewide basis effective at noon on March 28, 2020:
Every person who enters the State of Texas as the final destination through an airport, from a point of origin or point of last departure in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or the City of New Orleans, or in any other state or city as may be proclaimed hereafter, shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Texas or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter. This order to self-quarantine shall not apply to people traveling in connection with military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions, as may be determined by the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Each person covered under this order to self-quarantine shall be responsible for all associated costs, including transportation, lodging, food, and medical care.
A covered person shall use a form prescribed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to designate a quarantine location in Texas, such as a residence or a hotel, and provide a full name, date of birth, home address, telephone number, and driver license or passport information. DPS Troopers, or other approved peace officers, shall collect a completed form from each covered person immediately upon disembarking and verify it against the person’s driver license or passport. Providing false information on this form is a criminal offense under Section 37.10 of the Texas Penal Code. Questions about this form should be directed to DPS at (800) 525-5555.
A covered person shall proceed directly from the airport to the designated quarantine location entered on the DPS form. Any covered person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 shall be escorted to the designated quarantine location by a DPS Trooper.
A covered person shall remain in the designated quarantine location for a period of 14 days or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter, leaving only to seek medical care or to depart from Texas. During that period, a covered person shall not allow visitors into or out of the designated quarantine location, other than a health department employee, physician, or healthcare provider, and shall not visit any public spaces.
DPS Special Agents will conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance by confirming the physical presence of covered persons. Any failure to comply with this order to self-quarantine shall be a criminal offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both.
This executive order shall remain in effect and in full force until modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the governor.
Given under my hand this the 26th day of March, 2020.
Governor Greg Abbott