Texas governor bans dine-in eating, gatherings of 10+ through April 3

Public Health Disaster declared in Texas, first one since 1901

The state of Texas on Thursday declared a public health disaster, closing restaurant dining rooms and schools for 5 million students.

AUSTIN, Texas – The state of Texas on Thursday declared a Public Health Disaster, closing restaurant dining rooms and schools for 5 million students.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a series of Executive Orders related to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation and serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state.

“The State of Texas is at a pivotal moment in our response to COVID-19, and it is imperative that we act now on preemptive measures to slow the spread of this virus,” Abbott said. “Today’s executive orders are precautionary measures that are in line with guidelines from the CDC and they will strengthen Texas’ ability to safeguard our communities and respond to COVID-19. As Texans, we must continue to work collaboratively to slow the spread of this virus and protect public health.”

The executive orders:

  • Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people
  • Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors
  • No visits to nursing homes and retirement centers
  • Schools shall temporarily close

While eating at restaurants is banned, Abbott said that drive-thru, pickup or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged.

The executive order goes into effect at midnight Friday through midnight April 3, but it could be extended, Abbott said.

The last time a public health disaster was declared in Texas was in 1901.

The executive order does not prohibit people from visiting grocery stores, gas stations, parks and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

The executive order does not mandate sheltering in place. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.

Abbott urged employers to only allow essential employees report to the workplace. Working from home is high encouraged.

The governor also plans on holding a virtual town hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The town hall will be streamed live on KSAT.com.

Read the Public Health Disaster Declaration below:

Read Gov. Abbott’s executive order below:

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.


About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.