On Tuesday March 31, 2020 Texas Governor Abbott issued a new order for the response to COVID-19. In the order he outlined protocols for the entire state to standardize what is considered an essential business in the State of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The Executive Order renews and expands the Governor's previous directive to minimize social gatherings and minimize contact with people who are not in the same household. It also renews the Governor's directive to avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, and visiting gyms or massage establishments, and it expands the order to include tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons. In accordance with federal guidelines, people are still prohibited from visiting nursing home, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long- term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance. Additionally, schools will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 4, 2020. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services. The order also includes exemption for religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services. This Executive Order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in- person contact with people who are not in the same household. The City of Big Spring is evaluating this order and how it applies to the citizens of Big Spring. We will have more information coming soon.

Managing Editor

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