Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday mandating quarantine for anyone traveling to Texas from either New Orleans or the New York Tri-State area.
Abbott said anyone arriving at an airport in Texas from either New York, Connecticut, New Jersey or New Orleans, Louisiana, must register with the Texas Department of Public Safety and immediately quarantine themselves at home or in a hotel for 14 days or until they leave the state, which ever occurs first.
"During this period, a quarantined person shall not allow visitors into or out of the designated quarantine location, other than a physician or healthcare provider, and cannot visit any public spaces," Abbott said. "The New York Tri-State Area and the City of New Orleans have become major centers of this pandemic, and it is vital that we take necessary precautions to prevent additional exposure that could originate from people traveling from these areas to Texas."
Abbott has charged the DPS with checking up on quarantined people affected by this order. If people are found to be in violation, they could face criminal charges including a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail.
The governor said the executive order is intended to achieve goals articulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.
Dr. John Hellerstedt, the director of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said the quarantines are being required to protect others and are in line with other quarantines asked of anyone who has come into contact with people infected with COVID-19.
The governor's order to self-quarantine does not apply to people traveling in connection with military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions, as may be determined by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).
As of this writing, there are more than 1,500 cases of COVID-19 in Texas including 17 deaths. Nationwide, nearly 70,000 people have been infected, more than 30,000 of whom are in the New York area. Across the country, more than 1,000 people have now died after being infected with the virus.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
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