The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
Abbott’s order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 2 and will last until April 30, the same date President Donald Trump’s newly extended social-distancing guidelines are also set to end.
The executive order supersedes the previous order issued on March 19, which limited social gatherings to 10 people, and temporarily closed schools, among other things. It also renews the Governor’s previous directive to avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts and visiting gyms or massage establishments. It expands the order to include tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons.
According to the new order, people may leave their homes to carry out “essential activities” such as grocery shopping, accessing banking and financial services, and accessing healthcare or childcare for essential service employees, as well as government services. Those who work in essential services can still go to work, but those who don’t are urged to stay away from other people by not going out in public unless necessary. A list of essential services is attached to the order and includes transportation and logistics, communication, and information technology and critical manufacturing, among others.
Additionally, schools across the state will remain closed until at least May 4. However, the order states that people may engage in physical activities such as jogging or bicycling, and may continue to do so “as long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.”
“Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” Governor Abbott said in a press release. “Now, it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve.
“By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.”
Failure to comply with the order is a punishable offense. It may result in a fine of up to $1,000, a prison sentence of up to six months, or both. However, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Abbott stressed the new order was not a “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” order, but rather one that emphasized social distancing practices and allowed for essential services and activities to continue.
“In short, what this provides is that Texans are expected to limit personal interactions that could lead to the spread of COVID-19, while also still having the freedom to conduct daily activities such as going to the grocery store, so long as you are following the presidential standard of good distance practices,” Abbott said.
As of April 1, Texas has 3,666 confirmed cases of CCP virus, while 56 people have died from the disease.