TEXAS, USA — Texas Governor Greg Abbott expanded an executive order Sunday that requires people traveling into Texas by road from Louisiana to self-quarantine. That order went into effect Monday, March 30th at noon.
Abbott says that state troopers will be stopping motorists and anyone entering Texas will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Troopers will not be establishing checkpoints along the Texas-Louisiana border but will be increasing patrols into these areas according to a Texas DPS spokesperson.
Commercial activity, emergency response or critical infrastructure responsibilities is still allowed.
Workers who need to travel back and forth over the Texas-Louisiana border will need to get a letter from the state, according to the Texas Department of Emergency Management.
It's for workers traveling in connection with commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical infrastructure functions. TDEM will use the form to determine on a case-by-case basis whether the self quarantine order applies.
Federal employees and their contractors are exempt from the order, if travelling for business purposes. Individuals travelling for essential health care services are also exempt, and do not need to apply for individualized exemption, but will need to have a doctor's note on hand.
Approved workers crossing the border will need to carry a copy of the letter along with their company ID or badge and be ready to show it at the border if requested.
12News reached out to TDEM to see how long approval will take, and what workers who travel between Texas and Louisiana should do in the meantime, but hasn't gotten a response.
The Department of Public Safety could not go into specifics on how they plan to enforce the new travel restrictions. A spokesperson said, "While we anticipate wide compliance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders, the department will vigorously enforce the executive order, as these orders are designed to protect the public and stop the spread of COVID-19."
12News asked DPS how many people have been stopped since the order went into effect Monday, and if anyone was found not in compliance. We're still waiting for a response.
In a press conference Tuesday, Governor Abbott said Texans have made great strides in slowing the spread of coronavirus, but we're not done yet.
"As the coronavirus has spread across the land, at a time when lives are literally at risk, Texans continue to rise to the occasion," he said, "together we are going to heal our state, together we'll ensure that the Lone Star State continues to shine."