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State and Local Policies During Coronavirus

Texas

Governor Greg Abbott Announces Phase 3 of Business Openings

June 3, 2020 - Gov. Abbott issued an Executive Order moving Texas to Phase III. 

Effective June 3:

  • All businesses currently operating at 25% capacity can expand their occupancy to 50% with certain exceptions. 
  • Bars and similar establishments may increase their capacity to 50% as long as patrons are seated.
  • Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases may open at 50% capacity. 
  • Restaurants may expand their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.  

Effective June 12:

  • Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75%. 
  • Counties with 10 or less active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75%. Counties that fit this category but have not previously filed an attestation with DSHS will need to do so.

Effective June 19:

  • Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity.

Additional Openings:

  • Special provisions have been made for outdoor gatherings, such as Fourth of July celebrations, but it is imperative that local officials and public health officials collaborate on safe standards. These provisions are included in the Governor's Executive Order and are also available on the Open Texas webpage. 

Further Protocols:

  • All businesses should continue to follow the minimum standard health protocols from DSHS. For details and a full list of guidelines, openings, and relevant dates, visit http://open.texas.gov.

Governor Greg Abbott Announces Phase 2 of Business Openings

May 18, 2020 - Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the expansion of openings of certain businesses and activities in Phase 2 of reopening. The latest information for reopened businesses may be found at https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas

Here are the Open Texas checklists and guidelines for each business allowed to reopen:

New, Now in Effect as of May 18, 2020

Effective May 18, 2020

New, In Effect May 22, 2020

New, In Effect May 31, 2020

Governor Greg Abbott Issues Executive Order to Expand Business Openings

May 5, 2020, Austin, Texas - Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order to expand openings of certain businesses and activities. Read the full order hereRevised checklists dated May 5 for essential and reopened businesses may be found at https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas

In summary, the order states:

Clarifications of Existing Executive Orders

  • Funerals, memorials, burials, and weddings are all treated the same as church services with limited seating arrangements.  For wedding receptions, look at the standards for restaurants and comply with those standards.   At-risk population is encouraged to participate remotely.  If attending, organizer should consider designating an area for at-risk population.
  • Beaches, lakes, rivers, and river rafting – These outdoor settings are subject to the same standards that apply to parks.
  • Restaurants – The 25% occupancy limit applies only to indoor seating.  There are no capacity limitations on outdoor seating, although the social distancing standards apply.  Valet services are prohibited except for valet parking.

Additional Businesses Will be Permitted to Reopen 

Effective May 8:

  • Cosmetology salons, barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, and tanning salons may reopen. 

Effective May 18:

  • Non-essential services provided by office workers in offices may reopen up to the greater of (i) 5 employees, or (ii) 25% of the workforce, provided employees maintain social distancing.
  • Non-essential manufacturing facilities may reopen.  Nonessential manufacturers should limit occupancy to 25%, stagger their workforce and maintain social distancing.
  • Gyms may reopen at 25% capacity, although showers and locker rooms must remain closed.

Bars must still remain closed until social distancing strategies can be developed. 

Governor Greg Abbott Allows Stay Home Order to Expire on April 30; Phase 1 of Re-opening Begins May 1

April 27, 2020, Austin, Texas - Gov. Abbott announced this afternoon that Executive Order GA-14 (stay at home order) will expire on April 30 and will not be renewed. Phase 1 of re-opening Texas businesses begins May 1.

Beginning Friday, May 1:

  • All retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls are permitted to reopen at 25% of listed occupancy capacity.  Public swimming pools, bars, gyms, cosmetology salons, massage establishments, interactive amusement venues, such as bowling alleys and video arcades, and tattoo and piercing studios will remain closed.  Current expectation is that they will be allowed to reopen about May 18. Read the full Executive Order GA-18 here.
  • The Governor relaxed certain restrictions related to health care professionals and issued amended requirements related to hospital capacity. Under Executive Order GA-19:

    o All licensed health care professionals shall be limited in their practice by, and must comply with, any emergency rules promulgated by their respective licensing agencies dictating minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID-19 disaster.

    o Every hospital licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health & Safety Code shall reserve at least 15% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, as determined by HHSC. 
  • The mandatory 14-day quarantine period for individuals traveling from Louisiana is eliminated under Executive Order GA-20.  The mandated 14-day quarantine for travelers from the following areas remains in place: California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan, and Miami, Florida.
For now, bars, gyms, and salons will remain closed. Phase 2 is scheduled to begin Monday, May 18.

Finally, the Governor’s Task Force released its Open Texas Report.

Governor Greg Abbott Issues Executive Order Establishing Strike Force to Open Texas

April 17, 2020, Austin, Texas - Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference where he issued three new Executive Orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines. Within the orders, select activities and services that pose minimal to no threat of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to reopen using a "Retail-To-Go" model, certain restrictions on surgeries have been loosened, and schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. 
 
Within these orders, the Governor has established the Strike Force to Open Texas—a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the Governor on safely and strategically reopening the state of Texas. For more information about the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas, visit the strike force webpage

The Governor’s second Executive Order (GA-16) relates to the safe, strategic reopening of select services and activities in Texas. This order establishes a temporary "Retail-To-Go" model that will allow retail outlets in Texas to reopen beginning Friday, April 24. Under this model, reopened establishments are required to deliver items to customer's cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact.
 
Under this Executive Order, schools—including public, private, and higher education institutions—will remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers may go into the classroom for video instruction, to perform administrative duties, and to clean out their classrooms.
 
The Governor’s third Executive Order (GA-15) relates to hospital capacity and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for the COVID-19 response. The order loosens restrictions on surgeries put in place by Governor Abbott in March.

Governor Greg Abbott Issues Executive Orders for Self-Quarantine

Mandatory Self-Quarantine for Travelers Arriving from State of Louisiana by Road:  The Governor announced an Executive Order subjecting anyone arriving by road from any location in Louisiana to a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days.  The order does not apply to commercial or critical infrastructure functions, among others. Read the Executive Order here.

Mandatory Self-Quarantine for Air Travelers Expanded to Include Cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, and the States of California and Washington:  The Governor announced an Executive Order subjecting anyone arriving by air from these jurisdictions to a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days. Read the Executive Order here.

Release of Dangerous Felons from Prisons and Jails in State of Texas is Prohibited The Governor announced an Executive Order prohibiting the release of dangerous felons solely because of COVID-19.  That is not the right strategy, and he wants to reduce and contain COVID-19 in prisons and jails. Read the Executive Order here.

No Statewide Shelter-in-Place: No change from the Governor’s March 19 order closing bars, restaurants, gyms and schools until midnight on April 3, 2020.  The Governor indicated that they are expecting updated guidance early this week from the CDC and the WH Coronavirus Task Force, and he will consult with DSHS if updated guidance is received on whether a statewide order is needed in Texas.

Member Call on State, City, and County Policy with Robert Miller, Locke Lord

Hear from Robert Miller with Locke Lord, Texas BOMA’s lead lobbyist, discuss the "Stay Home" policies and what they mean for your business, and answer member questions. View the recorded call here. Download PowerPoint slides here.

Advocacy

Throughout our country, the commercial real estate industry is supporting health care providers, educational institutions, first responders, the pharmaceutical industry, all levels of government, and countless others responding to the coronavirus.  We're working to let our State officials know that material disruption to building operations or safety could severely impact these critical needs. 
 
To help ensure the continuity and stability of these services, we're requesting that any order for shelter-in-place listing essential business exemptions should include  the language noting that the order does not apply to essential personnel including property managers, building operators/engineers, security, janitorial, elevator service, plumbing, electrical and HVAC personnel.

BOMA International sent a letter to national congressional leadership as Congress considers additional COVID-19 relief legislation. Read the full letter here.

The letter, which was signed by BOMA President Henry Chamberlain and Chair Scott Jones, outlines recommendations to ensure the physical safety and economic security of the commercial buildings sector. It is not meant to encompass all of the issues the commercial real estate industry is facing right now, but serves as a good marker as BOMA continues to have conversations with congressional leaders.

Counties

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Issues Face Covering Order - June 19, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo's face covering order is effective today and continues through June 30. It applies to commercial entities in Harris County providing goods or services directly to the public. If your business location does not provide goods or services directly to the public, the order does not apply to you.  

The order requires consumer-facing businesses to adopt a health and safety policy ("Policy") requiring, at a minimum, all employees or visitors to the business premises to wear face coverings when in close proximity to co-workers or the public. Commercial entities must post the Policy in a conspicuous location on the business premises sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements. Failure to develop and implement the Policy by June 26 may result in a fine not to exceed $1,000 for each violation. Harris County peace officers are authorized to enforce the order.

Additionally, all persons older than ten shall wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a commercial entity or working in areas in a commercial entity that involve close proximity with others, subject to limited exceptions. However, no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failure to wear a face covering.

Download the PDF of the full order here.

Harris County Issues "Stay Home, Work Safe Order"

On Tuesday, March 24, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a "Stay at Home, Work Safe" order that goes into effect at midnight through April 3, 2020. The order was additionally expanded to continue through May 20.
 
 
Specifically, “a) Workers to ensure continuity of building functions” and “b) Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures” are defined as essential.
 

Fort Bend County Issues "Stay at Home to Save Lives" Order

Following the Harris County "Stay Home, Work Safe" order, Fort Bend County Judge KP George has issued a "Stay at Home to Save Lives" order. Read the full order here.The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office asked that people don't call the dispatch center for questions about the order. Instead, residents can call 281-633-7795.

2020 Annual Partners

Houston Building Owners & Managers Association
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