Governor Abbott Renews COVID-19 Disaster Declaration In March 2023
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:
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 COVID-19 poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, in each subsequent month effective through today, I have issued proclamations renewing the disaster declaration for all Texas counties; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, I have issued a series of executive orders and suspensions of Texas laws aimed at protecting the health and safety of Texans, ensuring uniformity throughout the State, and achieving the least restrictive means of combating the evolving threat posed by COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, Executive Orders GA-13, GA-37, GA-38, GA-39, and GA-40 remain in effect with “the force and effect of law” under Section 418.012 of the Texas Government Code; and
WHEREAS, ending the disaster declaration would terminate the executive orders that protect Texans’ freedom by suspending the power of local governments to require masks, compel vaccinations, and close businesses; and
WHEREAS, I intend to keep these executive orders and suspensions in place until the Legislature can enact laws this session to prohibit local governments from imposing restrictions like mask mandates and vaccine mandates; and
WHEREAS, renewing the disaster declaration in no way infringes on the rights or liberties of any law-abiding Texans; and
WHEREAS, under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, a state of disaster continues to exist in all counties during Texas’ successful economic recovery from COVID-19;
NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby renew the disaster proclamation for all counties in Texas.
Pursuant to Section 418.017, I authorize the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with this disaster.
Under the terms of Executive Orders GA-38, GA-39, and GA-40, all of which remain in effect by virtue of this renewal, local governments are divested of any lawful authority to subject Texans to mask mandates, vaccine mandates, or business-closure mandates. As a matter of state law, COVID-19 cannot justify those local intrusions upon personal liberty.
Pursuant to Section 418.016, any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or any order or rule of a state agency that would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster shall be suspended upon written approval of the Office of the Governor. However, to the extent that the enforcement of any state statute or administrative rule regarding contracting or procurement would impede any state agency’s emergency response that is necessary to cope with this declared disaster, I hereby suspend such statutes and rules for the duration of this declared disaster for that limited purpose.
In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 16th day of March, 2023.
Secretary of State