As Texas and the greater Houston area fight to combat the spread of the coronavirus, counties have begun issuing stay-at-home orders asking that people only leave their homes for essential activities and all non-essential businesses close.
These orders still allow for people to go to the grocery store, visit their doctors or pharmacies, family members, and allow for going on walks in neighborhoods or parks (though playgrounds are often closed). Restaurants are allowed to provide take-out or delivery meals, but no in-person dining. All other non-essential businesses must close, such as movie theaters and gyms.
Both county leaders and health officials are urging people to follow their county's order as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Here’s a running list of Houston-area counties that have issued stay-at-home orders:
Harris County, Houston 'Stay Home, Work Safe' order
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo have extended their “Stay Home, Work Safe” order through April 30, citing an "alarming acceleration of COVID-19 cases" in the county.
Fort Bend County 'Stay at Home to Save Lives' order
KP George issued a “Stay at Home to Save Lives” order on March 24 that remains in effect until April 3. The county judge said, “This situation requires all of us, including the young and healthy, to stay home and make sacrifices if our whole community is to remain healthy and intact.”
Galveston County order
Mark Henry was the first local county judge to issue a stay-at-home order. The county judge announced the order for the county Monday evening, lasting through April 3. The city of Galveston also issued three of its own orders that affect short-term rentals, fishing piers and charter fishing businesses.
Chambers County 'Stay Safe' order
Jimmy Sylvia, county judge, extended the county's “Stay Safe” order through April 30. The order asks all county residents to stay at home and only essential business and essential government remain operational. Read the full order here.
Liberty County 'Stay Safe' order
Jay Knight, county judge, signed an executive “Stay Safe” order and declaration of disaster for the county through 11:59 p.m. April 3. Read the full order here.
Brazoria County 'Stay Safe at Home' order
L.M. "Matt" Sebesta signed a "Stay Safe at Home" order that takes effect at 6 p.m. March 26 that's in effect through 11:59 p.m. April 3. "As we see the number of cases rise locally, statewide and throughout the nation, the advice across the board has been to take action to slow the spread of this disease down," Sebesta said. Click here to read the full order.
San Jacinto County 'Stay Home/Work Safe' order
Fritz Faulkner, county judge, issued a "Stay Home/Work Safe" order today that remains in effect through 11:59 p.m. on April 19. Click here to read the full order.
Montgomery County order
Montgomery County has extended its 'stay home, stop the spread' order through April 30. The order asks all residents to stay home unless their performing an essential activity, working at an essential business or are seeking medical care.
A nightly curfew for all residents running from 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily is also included in the order. Read the complete order here.
Polk County 'Stay Home' order
On March 25, Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy issued an stay home order out of an abundance of caution to protect the health and safety of Polk County residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This order requires individuals to remain at home or at a place of residence, with exceptions for essential work and activities. This order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 27, and will be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law. This order covers Polk County and all municipalities within its boundaries to include Corrigan, Goodrich, Livingston, Onalaska, and Seven Oaks.
Other notable Texas counties with stay-at-home orders:
- Brazos County
- Bexar County (San Antonio)
- Dallas County
- McLennan County (Waco)
- Tarrant County (Fort Worth)
- Travis County (Austin)
- Williamson County (Round Rock, Georgetown)
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...
- The air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.
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