Harris County, Texas – March 31, 2020 — As the region continues to see growth in COVID-19 cases, County Judge Lina Hidalgo today announced she will extend the county’s Stay Home-Work Safe order to 11:59 p.m. on April 30. The order advises nonessential businesses to shut down and for residents to stay home except for essential activities.
“During this critically important time for our region, we need to maintain our efforts to drastically reduce public gatherings and activities,” Judge Hidalgo said. “The increase in cases we have coming into our hospitals, the projections from our healthcare leaders show this is by no means the time to go back to normal. We all see the case rate growing.
Texas Medical Center CEOs commended the county’s decision in a joint statement, saying the extension is necessary “to save lives and protect our patients, families and the region.”
The Stay Home-Work Safe order, which was first issued on March 24, allows “essential” businesses and workers to continue operations as long as social-distancing practices are in place. “The intent behind this order is to drastically limit public gathering and activities – a practice we know reduces the spread of COVD-19,” Judge Hidalgo said. “Any uncertainties that arise from this order should be resolved in favor of staying home or staying closed.”
On Monday, Ready Harris launched an online dashboard showing the total number of confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by Coronavirus. Additionally, the county has deployed an online screening tool to help residents determine if a COVD-19 test is warranted.
Violations of the Stay Home-Work Safe order are subject to fines and up to 180 days in jail. Please seek legal counsel if you are unsure if a certain business, service, or function is considered essential. The order may also be clarified based on Governor Abbott’s order on essential businesses.