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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Big Texas Cities Join San Antonio in Issuing Stay-at-Home Orders, but Abbott Hasn't Followed Suit

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 11:11 AM

click to enlarge A shelter-in-place order for San Antonio and Bexar County goes into effect Tuesday a minute before midnight. - WIKIMEDIA
  • Wikimedia
  • A shelter-in-place order for San Antonio and Bexar County goes into effect Tuesday a minute before midnight.
San Antonio isn't the only big Texas metro ordering residents to hunker down. The state's biggest cities and counties are issuing similar orders to keep citizens indoors to slow the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday morning, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo directed all 4.5 million of the county's residents to stay home and minimize movement. Harris is home to Houston, the Lone Star State's most-populous city.



Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley issued a similar order later the same morning. And Austin and Travis County joined forces on a similar measure.

“All of us should stay home unless our jobs are essential for the health and safety of our community,” Hidalgo said, according to the Texas Tribune. “We are taking all of this one step at a time.”

Dallas County issued its shelter-in-place order Sunday, and the cities of Waco and Lubbock followed on Monday.

But, so far, Gov. Greg Abbott hasn't handed down a statewide order, saying Sunday that not all counties have confirmed COVID-19 cases and adding that municipalities were free to issue their own orders.

A growing chorus of lawmakers and health officials have called on Abbott to step up, warning that without more statewide restrictions, controlling the pandemic could become impossible.

"As a state, Texas has the highest level of uninsured people in the nation," U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen said in a statement demanding a statewide order. "Texas is ranked last in testing, containment and public health emergency spending per capita, and we were one of the last states to declare a statewide emergency. We are one of the most vulnerable states and it is past time for state leadership to take serious steps to curb the spread of COVID-19."

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