As the COVID-19 epidemic progresses, Texas Governor Greg Abbott imposed additional, more stringent travel restrictions between Texas and Louisiana. On March 26, 2020, Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-11 imposed a mandatory self-quarantine of 14 days for air travelers flying to Texas from certain areas experiencing substantial community spread of COVD-19, including the City of New Orleans. Today, through Executive Order GA-12, Governor Abbott declared that “[e]very person who enters the [Texas] through roadways from Louisiana…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.”
The Texas Governor justifies this unprecedented action because “many cases of COVID-19 in the [Texas] were caused by people who transmitted the virus to Texans after traveling here from other states and countries.” Taxes law gives the Governor the power and authority to “control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area and the movement of persons.” He also cites similar measures taken by Florida’s Governor.
This order to self-quarantine travelers does not apply to people “traveling in connection with commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions,” consistent with federal guidelines for essential employees. So, if your business has employees who commute daily from Texas to Louisiana (or vice versa) for work, they can continue to do so. For example, the trucking industry and oil and gas sectors, and the ancillary businesses supporting those sectors, are exempt from this order.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) shall enforce this executive order along the Texas-Louisiana border using a form that each impacted person will use 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. Providing false information on this form is a criminal offense.
A covered person must then proceed directly to the designated quarantine location. If that person is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of entry into Texas, they will be escorted to the designated quarantine location by a DPS Trooper. Each individual subject to self-quarantine will be responsible for all associated costs, including transportation, lodging, food, and medical care. 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,
A copy of the Governor's order can be viewed by clicking here.