On Friday March 13, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster for all Texas counties. The declaration provides for several actions, including:

  • Authorizing the use of all available and necessary state government resources to help manage this situation.
  • Activating the state emergency management plan and the State Operations Center to enhance the state’s planning and response capabilities.
  • Giving the Texas Department of Emergency Management the ability to reassign & fully utilize appropriate personnel where they are needed most.
  • Providing the immediate ability to move resources around the state, including resources obtained through the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • Empowering the Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG) to pursue cases of price-gouging and ensure that offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

In addition, the governor directed state agencies to limit visitation at certain facilities, including nursing homes, state-supported living centers, hospitals, daycare facilities, prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities. Exceptions include end-of-life visitations after proper screening.