Gov. Abbott’s Executive Order Creates Consistent Rules Statewide

Dave Moore, Staff Writer

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s March 31 executive order regarding behavior and activities permitted during the COVID-19 outbreak has helped introduce consistent rules across Texas and the Dallas Region.

Shortly after Gov. Abbott issued Executive Order GA-14, Collin County Judge Chris Hill rescinded his executive order, which had previously declared all businesses in the county as essential.

GA-14 – which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. April 2 – defines non-essential services as:

  • Cosmetology Salons
  • Gyms
  • Massage Establishments
  • Tattoo Studios
  • Piercing Studios
  • Eating/Drinking Inside of Bars/Restaurants/Food Courts

The order says religious services are considered “essential,” but only if they can’t be conducted online, and only if they can be conducted following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines (maintaining proper social distancing, sanitation, etc.).

During a March 31 press conference, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he’s secured the support from several churches with web-streaming capabilities, and they have agreed to broadcast the services of any congregation in the county.

“Here in Dallas County… every faith in Dallas County will have (web) access through remote services,” he said.

Essential services, according to the order, include jobs and work essential to maintaining critical and essential services to ensure the continuity of critical functions protecting the public health and safety. Abbott’s order cites a March 28 federal Homeland Security department document that defines essential as work necessary to sustain the nation’s emergency services, food and agriculture system, water supply, critical manufacturing, and other categories.