AUSTIN, Tex. (KBTX)- Gov. Greg Abbott extended social distancing guidelines through April 30 and announced Texas schools will remain closed until at least May 4.
As part of Tuesday's executive order, Abbott also deemed certain businesses and services "essential" statewide.
However, Abbott rejected the language of a "shelter-in-place" or "stay-at-home" order, and stressed that Texans may still leave their homes for essential activities, such as to visit the grocery store or bank, or exercise outdoors.
IN HIS OWN WORDS: Click on the video player above to watch Governor Greg Abbott's explanation of why he isn't calling his order a shelter-in-place.
"In short, what this provides is that Texans are expected to limit personal interactions that could lead to the spread of COVID-19, while also still having the freedom to conduct daily activities such as going to the grocery store, so long as you are following the presidential standard of good distance practices," Abbott said.
Following Tuesday's news briefing, Democrats said the Governor was confusing at times but believe he's headed in the right direction.
“For whatever reason, the governor was unwilling to call this a stay-at-home order. Regardless, the message from public health professionals remains: if you don’t have to be out, please stay home. And the state of Texas must be ready to follow stricter restrictions than those put forth by Gov. Abbott today, should the data and analysis from scientists and researchers show us that what he announced is not enough to save Texans' lives and meet the challenge at hand," said Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie.
The order will go into effect statewide at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 2 and lasts through April 30, in alignment with President Donald Trump's extension of social distancing guidelines through that date.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management may approve and add additional essential services, and will maintain a list at: tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices.