Governor Abbott’s 03.31.20 Executive Order




From the Texas EMS Alliance’s policy consultant, Craig Holzheauser:

A short summary of Governor Abbott’s press conference follows and his latest executive order text can be found here.

In attendance…

  • Gov. Greg Abbott
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
  • Speaker Dennis Bonnen
  • TEA Comm. Mike Morath
  • Dr. John Hellerstadt (DSHS)
  • Chief Nim Kidd (TDEM)

Texas by the numbers…

  • 42,922 individuals have been tested
  • 3,266 have tested positive
  • 122 counties now have at least one case
  • 41 coronavirus deaths


Just as President Trump extended social distancing guidelines (etc) through April 30th, Governor Abbott (“in consultation with Dr. Hellerstadt and the White House”) issued an expanded executive order (GA-14) to specify “essential services and activities protocols” and further social distancing guidelines to also extend through April 20th.

Key points…

  • GA-14’s “essential services and activities protocols” can be found on the TDEM website (
  • These include, but are not limited to, necessary trips to grocery stores, banks, gas stations, hardware stores; physical activity outdoors such as jogging, biking, hunting, fishing, walking or hiking; and religious activities done digitally/remotely or in person if consistent with CDC guidelines.
  • All Texas schools shall remain closed until May 4th.
  • “All of this could change”; specified that these are simply updates meeting our current needs.
  • All of this is enforceable by any sworn peace officer in Texas and is punishable by a fine or up to 180 days in jail; furthermore, violators can also be placed under a quarantine order by DSHS.
  • Any local jurisdiction that has an order or has given guidance inconsistent with this order (GA-14), those directives are invalidated.  Local jurisdictions may still enact stricter directives if deemed necessary.
  • HHSC has launched a statewide 24/7 mental health hotline for anyone anxious or stressed during this coronavirus outbreak (833-986-1919).
  • This is not a statewide shelter-in-place order, as “shelter-in-place is not a good term for use for any of these strategies that have been articulated by anybody.  Similarly, this is not a stay-at-home strategy.  This is a standard that’s based upon essential services and using proper social distancing.  We encourage people to continue to maintain normal and active lifestyles,” but to do so under CDC guidelines and without exposing themselves to anyone who could have COVID-19.



The text of GA-14 was just released.  While lengthy, the Governor focused on three things:

  • Closed all Texas schools through May 4th
  • Extended his existing EO through April 30th (was set to end April 3rd)
  • Specified “essential services and activities protocols” in sync with Homeland Security’s existing list and added religious services