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On Jan. 22, Gov. Greg Abbott renewed his COVID-19 disaster declaration, a step he first took in March 2020.

In the proclamation, the governor stated that, since the beginning of the pandemic almost two years ago, he has issued a number of executive orders — and suspended many of those — as Texas grapples with COVID-19.

“A state of disaster continues to exist in all counties due to COVID-19,” he said in the proclamation.

An emergency disaster declaration allows the state to employ resources and various responses to the pandemic. It also gives the governor more powers, as described in Texas Government Code Sec. 418.016, in suspending some laws and rules in regard to the pandemic.

“Extending this Disaster Declaration helps ensure that Texas has the resources and flexibility needed to effectively respond to COVID-19,” Abbott said in a statement. “To further mitigate the spread of the virus and overcome the challenge, Texans should continue to do their part by wearing a mask, social distancing and staying home if possible.”

Under the disaster declaration, Abbott has previously issued executive orders limiting gatherings, restricting certain businesses, temporarily closing in-person instruction at schools, restricting who could visit long-term care and nursing facilities, and requiring face coverings in certain public situations.

As the state works its way through the pandemic, Abbott has rescinded many of those executive orders.

The governor has come under criticism from multiple parties for his use of executive orders. Some accused him of overstepping his authority, while others said he removed some restrictions too soon. Another criticism is that he stripped local governments, especially school boards, of the ability to protect people during the pandemic as he lifted earlier restrictions.

For more information on the governor’s disaster declaration authority, view Section 418 of the Texas Government Code.

editor@thepicayune.com

2 thoughts on “Gov. Abbott extends state COVID-19 disaster declaration

  1. Gov Abbott has done little to help eliminate Covid. He caves to the right on most every matter. I’m not sure for whom he takes positive action. Certainly, it’s not women, the children, the elderly, the infirm, the students, the unemployed, the health workers, the mentally and physically challenged, transportation, infrastructure, or the reputation of our Great State of Texas. Why, oh why, would we re-elect this ineffective and egotistical man? Let’s not!!

  2. I would like to see Gov Abbott take the step to restrict local school boards from refusing to pay Covid 19 related leave for unvaccinated school staff when testing Pos for Covid . This is unfair and potentially discriminating especially when there is currently no vaccine mandate for school staff… To adopt a policy like this when you are short staffed in the middle of a emergency national disaster is totally unacceptable ! The Governor has restricted masks mandates and many other things in relation to Texas schools so why not support all staff vaccinated or not .
    The CDC has stated that Vaccinated people carry and transmit the virus , and that the vaccine does not prevent you from becoming infected or transmitting the virus, same as unvaccinated people .
    I would like to know who decided and voted on this policy ! It doesn’t seem legal and definitely doesn’t make sense. Everyone working in Texas school districts during emergency national disaster putting their lives in danger on a daily basis should be given paid Covid leave if they test positive and have to quarantine … period!!! They should not be forced to use their sick leave or personal vacation time! Someone needs to speak up for school personnel and they need to do it ASAP!!!

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