Statewide Temporary Closure of all Restaurants, Bars, and Gyms
Governor Abbott announced today an executive order that will limit social gatherings to 10 people, prohibit eating and drinking at restaurants and bars while still allowing takeout, close gyms, ban people from visiting nursing homes except for critical care and temporarily close all schools. The executive order is effective midnight Friday through midnight April 3rd, 2020.
Statewide Temporary Closure of Driver License Offices
Governor Abbott announced that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Driver License Offices across the state are closing immediately. This temporary closure will not apply to those seeking an initial Commercial Driver License (CDL). DPS offices that provide CDL testing will remain open solely for the purpose of providing initial CDLs. Visits will be by appointment only and can be scheduled by emailing cdlappointments@
This exception will allow commercial drivers to continue to ship goods across the state of Texas.
Waive of Certain Regulations to Allow Delivery of Alcohol from Restaurants and to Support the Hospitality Industry
Governor Abbott issued a waiver that will allow restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases to patrons, including beer, wine, and mixed drinks. The Governor also directed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to waive certain provisions to allow manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages to repurchase or sell back the unopened products.
Impact on May 2020 Local Elections
Governor Abbott issued a proclamation postponing the runoff primary election until July 14, 2020. The runoff election was originally scheduled for May 26th, but has been postponed in conjunction with the state's ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Early voting for the postponed runoff primary election will begin Monday, July 6, 2020.
TxDPS to Waive Expiration Dates on Certain Licenses and IDs
Governor Abbott has directed the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to temporarily waive expiration dates for Driver Licenses, Commercial Driver Licenses, and other identification forms. This action falls within the Governor’s State of Disaster Declaration and is part of the ongoing effort to reduce to spread of COVID-19. This suspension will be in effect until 60 days after DPS provides further public notice that normal Driver License operations have resumed.
Certain TDI Regulations on Telemedicine Waived
Governor Abbott has waived certain regulations related to telemedicine care and directed the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to issue an emergency rule to help patients with state-regulated insurance plans gain telemedicine access so doctors across Texas can help additional patients while mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Request for Loan Assistance for Small Businesses
On March 17, 2020, Governor Abbott requested designation from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Declaration in order for small businesses across the state of Texas to access the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. If granted, the SBA would provide relief through long-term, low-interest loans to qualifying Texas businesses.
Activation of the Texas National Guard
Governor Abbott has activated the Texas National Guard so they are prepared to assist with response efforts for COVID-19 if needed. This preparative step will ensure that the Texas National Guard can assist in various forms throughout the state at a moment’s notice. Healthcare workers and first responders who are members of the Texas National Guard are excluded from this activation so that they can continue serving the people of Texas in their respective fields.
TxDMV to Waive Rules on Disability Parking Placards and Vehicle Registration and Titling
Governor Abbott has announced that Texas is waiving certain rules relating to vehicle registration, parking placards for persons with disabilities, and titling to aid the state's efforts to combat COVID-19. These suspensions will allow Texans to avoid penalties for failure to timely title or register a vehicle, or renew a parking placard. The waivers fall within the actions the Governor is taking under the State of Disaster he declared last week, and are part of Texas’ efforts to reduce in-person contact among Texans and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Executive Order Increasing Hospital Capacity
Governor Abbott today signed an Executive Order to expand hospital bed capacity as the state responds to the COVID-19 virus. These actions will reinforce Texas' health care capabilities and provide additional space for hospitals to provide care to COVID-19 patients. Under this order, the Governor directed all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.
Allows Event Permit Refunds For Businesses Affected By COVID-19 Cancellations
Governor Abbott announced that he is temporarily suspending certain provisions of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code to help businesses whose events were cancelled due to COVID-19. Suspending these provisions will allow for refunds of application fees paid to obtain a temporary event permit for an event that was later cancelled.
Action to Expand Nursing Workforce
Governor Abbott has waived several regulations to help meet Texas’ growing need for nurses as the state responds to the COVID-19 virus. The Governor’s actions will expand Texas’ active nursing workforce by doing the following:
- Allowing temporary permit extensions to practice for graduate nurses and graduate vocational nurses who have yet to take the licensing exam.
- Allowing students in their final year of nursing school to meet their clinical objectives by exceeding the 50% limit on simulated experiences.
- Allowing nurses with inactive licenses or retired nurses to reactivate their licenses.
Distribution Of Federal Funding
Governor Abbott announced that Texas has received $36.9 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the state's initial allotment of funding from the first emergency coronavirus bill passed by Congress. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will distribute $19.5 million to 43 local health departments to aid in their COVID-19 response. This includes $1.75 million for Dallas County, Tarrant County, and the San Antonio Metro Health District where operations have been impacted by federal activities. The remaining funds will be used by DSHS to support operations in areas of the state not covered by local health departments and for statewide response activities.