Gov. Abbott issues executive order related to COVID-19 readiness and mitigation
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a series of executive orders Thursday that will limit social gatherings to 10 people, temporarily close schools, prohibit eating and drinking at restaurants and bars but allow takeout, ban people from visiting nursing homes except for those in critical care, and close gyms.
Abbott noted that Texas' historical strategy in responding to disasters was being tested by a rapidly evolving situation and that he expects the number of cases in Texas to climb into the tens of thousands. Abbot also said there were 39 confirmed cases in Texas when he made his initial disaster declaration, and now there are more than 140 cases.
"The traditional model that we have employed in the state of Texas for such a long time so effectively does not apply to an invisible disease that knows no geographic and no jurisdictional boundaries and threatens the lives of our fellow Americans across the entire country,"
Abbott's executive orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. These orders are in accordance with federal guidelines issued by the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will aid in the state's efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
"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. "One of the most effective ways we can do this is by promoting more social distancing and ensuring Texans avoid large group settings such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and schools where the risk of spreading COVID-19 is high."
AGC-TBB and other Texas construction associations send joint letter to Gov. Abbott voicing commitment to health and safety
Five major Texas construction trade associations came together Thursday to sign and submit a joint letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, demonstrating their support for Texas and committing their members to protecting the health and safety of their workers and the public.
Together, the groups represent more than 795,000 Texans across the construction industry working as general contractors, specialty contractors, and suppliers. The letter explained that by their nature, construction sites have "social distancing" built into their structure, where access is strictly regulated and safety briefings are regular events.
"We write to you today to ask you to treat construction as an essential service for the state and refrain from any action to curtail ongoing construction projects," the letter stated. "As higher risk industries are being impacted by the spread of COVID-19, it is more important to the long-term health of Texas’ economy to keep the construction industry intact."
The letter also stressed that the impact of shutting down construction work in Texas will have disastrous effects on Texans. "Worker layoffs will make it extremely difficult for construction companies to meet the demand to maintain existing healthcare facilities and build new ones, retrofit existing buildings for emergency use and providing new transportation corridors for people and materials," the letter stated. "Moreover, such a hit to the construction industry workforce in Texas will undermine current and future efforts of recovery due to natural disasters."
"Our associations have encouraged all of our members to implement strict measures for the safety of their workers and the public during this pandemic. We’ve distributed OSHA 2290 guidance on preparing the workplace in light of COVID-19 and encouraged worker education. With the low risk nature of construction related to the virus and the existing heavy emphasis on safety in our industry to implement protections for workers and the public, we urge you to recognize construction as essential services that should be continued during this time."
The letter was sent on behalf of the following associations: AGC of Texas - Building Branch; Associated Builders & Contractors of Texas; AGC of Texas - Highway, Heavy, Utilities & Industrial Branch; Texas Association of Builders; and the Texas Construction Association.
Call to Action: Hospitals need your help!
Hospitals in several Texas major metropolitan areas are requesting critical PEP equipment and N-95 masks to help combat COVID-19. The statewide effort has critical backing from Gov. Greg Abbott, as some counties such as Williamson County near Austin have reported they're running a shortage of more than 1,000 masks.
Please consider donating these crucial items to a local hospital. In many cases, the hospitals have even offered to pay for them. Gov. Abbott has urged everyone to help however they can, as he expects confirmed cases in Texas to reach the tens of thousands. The governor also reported this week that although tests for COVID-19 are rolling into Texas this week, he expects the number of confirmed cases to continue to dramatically rise.