Stay Home

What does Harris County’s Stay Home, Work Safe Order mean for my community?

Our community plays a vital part in helping us stem the spread of COVID-19. This overview is not intended to be a complete list of business types that are impacted. Please note that the intent behind this order is to drastically limit public gathering and activities. Ambiguities should be resolved in favor of staying home or staying closed. Violations 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.

Overview

Overview

What is Open?

  • Essential Government Functions
  • Essential Businesses (see below)
  • Restaurants that serve food by take out, delivery or drive-through
  • Bars that serve food by take out, delivery or drive-through
  • Micro-Breweries that serve food by take out, delivery or drive-through
  • Micro-Distilleries that serve food by take out, delivery or drive-through
  • Wineries that serve food by take out, delivery or drive-through
  • Public Parks
  • Open Outdoor Recreation Areas
  • Religious and Worship Services by Video and Teleconference

What is closed, for now? (list is not exhaustive)

  • Playgrounds
  • Gyms
  • Fitness Centers
  • Swimming Pools
  • Sports and Recreation Training Facilities and Studios
  • Hair and Nail Salons
  • Spas
  • Licensed Massage Businesses
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Concert Halls
  • Live Performance Theaters
  • Arenas
  • Stadiums
  • Movie Theaters
  • Game Rooms
  • Bowling Alleys
  • Arcades
  • Indoor and Outdoor Flea Markets and Swap Meets
  • Indoor Malls and Shopping Centers
  • Bingo Halls

Essential Activities are:

  • Performing tasks essential to health and safety, including: obtaining medication or visiting a healthcare professional
  • Obtaining supplies or services or delivery of those to others, including: food, pet supplies, household products, work from home supplies
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, while keeping social distancing
  • Performing work providing essential products and services to an essential business
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household.

Essential Businesses include:

  • Critical Infrastructure as identified by the US Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • Essential Government Functions including law enforcement, and other services for the health, safety and welfare of the public
  • Essential Healthcare Operations including hospitals, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, mental health providers, blood banks, home and residential based care for seniors, adults and children, veterinary and animal welfare operations
  • Essential Retail including grocery stores, warehouse stores, gas stations, convenience stores, food producers and service providers
  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations
  • Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses including: trash and recycling collection, mail and shipping services, building maintenance and security, and funeral homes
  • News Media
  • Childcare and Adult Care Services
  • Infrastructure, Development, Operation and Construction Services including public works construction, housing construction, commercial, manufacturing, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, and telecommunications systems
  • Transportation Businesses including car dealerships, parts distributors, maintenance and repair facilities, gas stations, vehicles for hire
  • Labor Union Functions
  • NASA and Port of Houston
  • Airports and related operations
  • Professional services including legal, accounting, insurance, and real estate services.
  • Other businesses that are not listed but either are or support critical industries or services. 
Stay Home, Work Safe

Stay Home, Work Safe

ORDER OF COUNTY JUDGE LINA HIDALGO

Stay Home, Work Safe

*** Extended until April 30 ***

 

Whereas, on March 11, 2020, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency to allow Harris County to take measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of Harris County residents in accordance with Section 418.108 of the Texas Government Code; and

 

Whereas, on March 13, 2020, a Declaration of State of Disaster was issued by Governor Abbott to take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of Texans; and

 

Whereas, on March 16, 2020, President Trump acknowledged the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing strict new guidelines to limit people’s interactions, including that Americans should avoid groups of more than 10 people; and

 

Whereas, on March 17, 2020, the Harris County Commissioners Court issued an Order at a Special Meeting of Commissioners Court approving the extension to March 25, 2020, of the Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency declared by County Judge Lina Hidalgo and signed on March 11, 2020;  and 

 

Whereas, on March 19, 2020, County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued an Order effective as of 8:00 a.m. on March 17, 2020, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2020, requiring restaurants and bars to provide only carry-out, delivery or drive-thru services as allowed by law, and closing  nightclubs, lounges and taverns,  and restricting private clubs; and

 

Whereas, on March 19, 2020, Governor Abbott issued the first Public Health Disaster Declaration released in the State of Texas since 1901 and an Executive Order which, among other things, prohibits Texans from gathering in groups of more than 10 people; and 

 

Whereas, on March 24, 2020, the Harris County Commissioners Court issued an Order approving the extension until April 29, 2020, of the Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency declared by County Judge Lina Hidalgo and signed on March 11, 2020, and extended at a Special Meeting of Commissioners Court on March 17, 2020 to March 25, 2020;  and 

 

Whereas, the COVID-19 virus is contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact, especially in group settings; and

 

Whereas, the COVID-19 virus causes property loss or damage due to its ability to attach to surfaces for prolonged periods of time; and

 

Whereas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") recommends an “All of Community” approach focused on slowing the transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing to reduce illness and death, while minimizing social and economic impacts; and

 

Whereas, given the ongoing evaluation of circumstances related to the COVID-19 virus, the updated recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the substantial risks posed by the COVID-19 virus to Harris County residents and their property, the following extraordinary measures must be taken to protect the public’s safety. 

 

NOW THEREFORE, I, COUNTY JUDGE FOR HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED BY TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 418, HEREBY FIND AND ORDER:

 

That the findings and recitations set out in the preamble to this ORDER are found to be true and correct and they are hereby adopted by the County Judge and made a part hereof for all purposes.  This Order is in addition to any previous orders issued by the Harris County Judge and hereby incorporates all previous orders by reference, including the Order of March 19, 2020, pertaining to restaurants and bars. 

 

Summary.  The virus that causes 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is easily transmitted through person-to-person contact, especially in group settings, and it is essential that the spread of the virus be slowed to protect the ability of public and private healthcare providers to handle the influx of new patients and safeguard public health and safety.  Because of the risk of the rapid spread of the virus and the need to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, this Order requires all individuals anywhere in Harris County, to stay at home – except for certain Essential Activities and work to provide Essential Business and Essential Government services or perform essential infrastructure construction, including housing.  This Order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24, 2020 and will continue through 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020, subject to the limited exceptions and under the terms and conditions more particularly set forth below.

1.Effective as of 11:59 p.m. on March 24, 2020, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020:

a.All individuals currently living within Harris County are ordered to stay at their place of residence except for Essential Activities as defined in this order. All persons may leave their Residences only for Essential Activities, or to provide or perform Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses, as defined in Section 2. For purposes of this Order, Residence includes homes, hotels, motels, shared rentals, and similar facilities.To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably as possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence.

b.Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this Order except that, to the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they shall, to the greatest extent feasible, maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person.Individuals experiencing homelessness are strongly urged to obtain shelter.Governmental and other entities that can provide shelter to homeless individuals are strongly urged to make shelter available, as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable (and to utilize social distancing requirements in their operations).

c.All businesses operating within Harris County, except Essential Businesses as defined below in Section 2, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the County.For clarity, businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).To the greatest extent possible, all Essential Businesses shall comply with the Social Distancing Guidelines attached, including maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and the general public.

d.All public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except as otherwise provided herein.Nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.Nothing in this Order affects orders or agreements regarding child-related visitation or custody arrangements.

e.Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas. However, public playgrounds may increase spread of COVID-19 and, therefore, shall be closed.

f.Restaurants, bars, micro-breweries, micro-distilleries, wineries and other establishments that serve food, with or without drive-in or drive-through services, are prohibited from serving food for consumption on the premises and may only serve food and/or alcohol by take out, delivery, or drive-through services as allowed by law, and detailed in the Harris County Judge’s Order of March 19, 2020, pertaining to restaurants and bars.

g.Gyms, fitness centers, swimming pools and other facilities that are used or intended to be used for any type of training, martial arts, sport or recreation shall close.

h.Hair and nail salons, spas, licensed massage businesses and tattoo parlors, concert halls, live performance theaters, arenas, stadiums, movie theaters, game rooms, bowling alleys, arcades, indoor and outdoor flea markets and swap meets, indoor malls, indoor shopping centers, and bingo halls shall close.

  • Faith leaders may minister and counsel in individual settings, so long as social distance protocols are followed.Religious and worship services may only be provided by video and teleconference.Religious institutions must limit in-person staff to those necessary for preparing for or conducting video or teleconference services, and all individuals must follow the Social Distancing Guidelines, including the six-foot social distancing.

2.Definitions:

a. For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following “Essential Activities”:

  • To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (for example, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a healthcare professional, or obtaining supplies needed to work from home).
  • To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others (for example, food, pet supplies, and any other household consumer products, supplies needed to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences).
  • To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements of six feet (for example, walking, biking, hiking, running, or fishing).
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order.
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household.

b. For purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” include:

i.Essential Critical Infrastructure.Work necessary to the operations and maintenance of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), provided that they carry out those services or that work in compliance with social distancing requirements of six feet to the extent possible.See Attachment (CISA’s Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce).Essential Businesses providing essential infrastructure should implement screening precautions to protect employees and all activities shall be performed in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

ii.Essential Government Functions.All services provided by local governments and municipalities located in Harris County needed to ensure their continuing operation to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public, including law enforcement, jail operations and other services.Further, nothing in this Order shall prohibit any individual from performing “Essential Government Functions”.All Essential Government Functions shall be performed in compliance with social distancing requirements of six feet to the extent possible.

iii.Essential City of Houston Government Functions.All services provided by the City of Houston that the Mayor of the City of Houston determines to be essential Government Functions.Further, nothing in this Order shall prohibit any individual from performing “Essential Government Functions”.All Essential Government Functions shall be performed in compliance with social distancing requirements of six feet to the extent possible.

iv.Essential Healthcare Operations.Healthcare operations, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, mental health providers, substance abuse service providers, blood banks, medical research, laboratory services, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. Home-based and residential-based care for seniors, adults, or children are also considered healthcare operations.Healthcare operations also include veterinary care and all health and welfare services provided to animals.This exemption shall be viewed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of healthcare.

v.Essential Retail.Food producers and service providers, including grocery stores, warehouse stores, furniture suppliers, big box stores, bodegas, liquor stores, gas stations and convenience stores, farmers’ markets that sell food products and household staples.Food cultivation, including farming, ranching, fishing, and livestock. Food production, including the production of canned goods, bottled beverages and other grocery items.Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences.Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery, drive-thru or carry-out.Schools and other entities that typically provide free services to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only.The restriction of delivery or carry-out does not apply to cafes and restaurants located within hospital and medical facilities.Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers.Gas stations, auto supply, auto and bicycle repair, hardware stores, and related facilities.Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home.


vi.Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations.Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.

vii.Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses.Trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal, mail and shipping services, building cleaning, maintenance and security, warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, storage for essential businesses, funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries.Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, yard and maintenance crews, housekeepers, janitorial staff, pool cleaners and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences and Essential Businesses.Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities.Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with support or utilities needed to operate.Caregivers and helpers who provide services to seniors and disabled individuals.

xiii. News Media.Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.

ix.Childcare and Adult Care Services.Childcare and adult care facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted.

xi.Infrastructure, Development, Operation and Construction. For example, public works construction, construction of housing or other types of construction including commercial, manufacturing, airport operations and aircraft manufacturing, maintenance or repair, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

xii.Transportation. Businesses related to the operation, maintenance, construction, and manufacture of transportation services.For example, (a) vehicle manufacturers, automotive suppliers and parts departments, car dealerships, parts distributors, maintenance and repair facilities;(b)public transportation;(c)businesses supporting airport operations;(d)street and highway maintenance and construction;(e) gas stations and other fuel distribution businesses;(f)vehicles for hire, including public transportation services, Uber, Lyft, and taxicabs, that enable persons to travel to or from employers, service providers, or businesses exempted in this Order. People riding on public transit must comply with the six-foot social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible.

xiii.Labor union functions.Critical labor union functions, including the maintenance of health and welfare funds and checking on the well-being and safety of members.

xiv.NASA and Port of Houston.Activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Port of Houston.

xv.Airports and related operations.Airport and airline activities, operations, maintenance and repairs, and the hotels that serve these Essential Businesses.

xvi.Professional services. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, insurances services, and “real estate services” when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities or to further Essential Businesses, Essential Government functions, or Critical Infrastructure.

3.These infection control precautions apply to all Essential Businesses: (1) practice social distancing by requiring patrons, visitors, and employees to be separated by six (6) feet, to the extent feasible; (2) provide access to hand washing facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol; (3) post a sign in a conspicuous place at the public entrance to the venue instructing members of the public not to enter if they are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, including fever or cough; and (4) adhere to other general communicable disease control recommendations by public health authorities.

4.Any manufacturer who retools so that a substantial part of their business is for the purpose of manufacturing and producing ventilators, personal protective equipment, or other medical supplies and equipment necessary for the COVID-19 response may apply for an “Essential Business” exemption under this Order. Any industry or business that is not an Essential Business may apply for an exemption from the requirements imposed by this Order.To be eligible for an exemption, the industry or business must complete and submit an application form, which will be made available to the public at www.ReadyHarris.org, along with evidence that the continuing operations of the business or industry are essential to promoting the general welfare of the residents of Harris County and the State of Texas during the COVID-19 response.Businesses or industries that retool or amend their operations to provide or support Essential Services during the COVID-19 response may also submit an application for exemption.

5.Grocery stores, supermarkets, warehouse stores, hospitals, and medical facilities are experiencing high levels of demand for a large number of products, requiring more deliveries from manufacturers and distribution centers to serve their customers.A number of Texas cities and local associations have implemented restrictions on delivery hours to stores to mitigate truck noise and traffic.Due to the need to deliver products as quickly and efficiently as possible during this critical timeframe, this Order hereby suspends all delivery hour restrictions for transport to or from any entity involved in the selling or distribution of food products, medicine, or medical supplies or equipment in Harris County for the next sixty (60) days.

6.If someone in a household has tested positive for COVID-19, all residents of the household are ordered to isolate at home until cleared by a public health authority or medical provider.

7.Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities are instructed by this Order to prohibit nonessential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation.

8.This Order shall be effective until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020 or until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law.

9.Pursuant to Appendix 9 to and Section V(A)(5)(a) Annex U of the Harris County Basic Plan adopted by Harris County Commissioners Court on October 29, 2019, and in accordance with Tex. Gov’t Code § 418.173, any law enforcement agency based in Harris County is hereby authorized to enforce this order and the failure to comply with this Order is an offense under this Order and is punishable by a fine that does not exceed $1,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days.

10.Harris County will post this Order on the Internet.In addition, the owner, manager, or operator of any facility that is likely to be impacted by this Order is strongly encouraged to post a copy of this Order onsite and to provide a copy to any member of the public asking for a copy.If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to any person, structure, gathering, or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision will not affect the validity of the remaining portions or applications of this Order.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

LINA HIDALGO

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE



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Easter Weekend Park Closures

Easter Weekend Park Closures

ORDER OF COUNTY JUDGE LINA HIDALGO

TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF HARRIS COUNTY PARKS

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency was issued to allow Harris County to take measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of Harris County residents; and

WHEREAS, on March 24, 2020, the Harris County Judge issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order, prohibiting gatherings and providing that residents stay home other than to perform Essential Services as defined in Federal guidance.  The “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order provided that in performing or obtaining Essential Services, residents should follow Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidelines on social distancing; and

WHEREAS, on March 31, 2020, Governor Abbot issued Executive Order GA 14 (“EO-GA-14”) relating to statewide continuity of essential services and activities during the COVID-19 disaster, which order is to be in full force and effect until April 30, 2020; and

WHEREAS, on April 3, 2020, the Harris County Judge issued an extension and amendment of “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order, prohibiting gatherings and providing that residents stay home other than to perform Essential Services until April 30, 2020 consistent with Governor Abbot’s order; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) continues to recommend an “All of Community” approach focused on slowing the transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing to reduce illness and death, while minimizing social and economic impacts; and

WHEREAS, the Easter holidays will occur this year from April 10 through April 13, and have traditionally been a time celebrated by families and friends in public gatherings.  The substantial and continuing risks posed by the COVID-19 virus to Harris County residents require extraordinary measures to protect the public's safety; and

NOW THEREFORE, I, COUNTY JUDGE FOR HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED BY TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 418, ISSUE THIS TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF HARRIS COUNTY PARKS ORDER AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.  From 8 p.m. Thursday, April 9, 2020 until 8 a.m. Monday, April 13, 2020, all Harris County parks and recreational centers administered exclusively by Harris County will be closed.  All public or private gatherings of any number of people at those facilities will be strictly prohibited.

 

SECTION 2. This order applies exclusively to Harris County owned, operated and administered facilities, and will not impact use of municipal facilities not administered or managed by Harris County.

 

SECTION 3.  All terms of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order adopted on March 31, 2020 and amended on April 3, 2020 remain in full force and effect.  To the extent that any provision of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order may be inconsistent with this Order, the terms of this Order shall control.

 

SECTION 4. Pursuant to Appendix 9 to Annex U of the Harris County Basic Plan adopted by Harris County Commissioners Court on October 29, 2019, and in accordance with Tex. Gov’t Code § 418.173, any law enforcement agency based in Harris County is hereby authorized to enforce this order and an offense under this Order is punishable by a fine that does not exceed $1,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days.

SECTION 5.  The Harris County Judge will file this Order with the Harris County Clerk’s Office. 

SECTION 6.  The Harris County Judge will post this Order on the Internet.  If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to any person, structure, gathering, or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision will not affect the validity of the remainder of this Order.

This Order takes effect at 8 p.m. on April 9, 2020 and will continue through 8 a.m. on April 13, 2020 or until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law.

ORDERED this 8th day of April 2020, in the County of Harris, Texas.

IT IS SO ORDERED

 

 

 

___________________________

LINA HIDALGO

 

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE

 

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Order Extension

Order Extension

ORDER EXTENDING AND AMENDING

ORDER OF COUNTY JUDGE LINA HIDALGO

Stay Home, Work Safe

 

Whereas, on March 11, 2020, a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency was issued to allow Harris County to take measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of Harris County residents; and

 

Whereas, on March 13, 2020, a Declaration of State of Disaster was issued by Governor Abbott to take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of Texans; and

 

Whereas, on March 19, 2020, Governor Abbott issued the first Public Health Disaster Declaration released in the State of Texas since 1901 and an Executive Order which, among other things, prohibits Texans from gathering in groups of more than ten persons; and

 

Whereas, on March 24, 2020, the Harris County Judge issued a "Stay Home, Work Safe" Order prohibiting gatherings and providing that residents stay home other than to perform Essential Services as defined in Federal guidance. The Stay Home, Work Safe order provided that in performing or obtaining Essential Services, residents should follow Center for Disease Control and Prevention "CDC" guidelines on social distancing.

 

Whereas, on March 31, 2020, Governor Abbot issued Executive Order No. GA-14 relating to statewide continuity of essential services and activities during the COVID-19 disaster. which order was to be in effect and in full force until April 30, 2020; and

 

Whereas, on the COVID-19 virus is contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact, especially in group settings, and gatherings of any kind during this time create a substantial threat to public health and safety; and

 

Whereas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") recommends an "All of Community" approach focused on slowing the transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing to reduce illness and death, while minimizing social and economic impacts; and

 

Whereas, given the ongoing evaluation of circumstances related to the COVID-19 virus, the updated recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the substantial risks posed by the COVID-19 virus to Harris County residents and their property, the following extraordinary measures must be taken to protect the public's safety.

 

Whereas, this Amended Order is intended to ensure that the Stay Home, Work Safe Order and Executive Order No. GA-14 relating to are read in conformity with one another regarding continuity of essential services.

 

NOW THEREFORE, I, COUNTY JUDGE FOR HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED BY TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 418, HEREBY EXTEND AND AMEND THE MARCH 24, 2020 STAY HOME WORK SAFE ORDER AS FOLLOWS

The Stay Home, Work Safe order signed on March 24, 2020 is extended and will continue through 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2020.

 

Section 2.a.vi. is hereby added to read as follows: Faith leaders who provide religious and worship services by video and teleconference enable Harris County to greatly limit the spread of COVID-19 and the exponential growth of cases. Faith leaders may minister and counsel in individual settings, so long as social distancing protocols are followed. Per the Texas Attorney General's guidance on this topic, if religious services cannot be conducted from home or through remote services, then religious services may be conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. Such services should be conducted consistent with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC by practicing good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, sanitation, and implementing social distancing. Faith leaders should consult the Texas Attorney General's guidance on this topic here.

Section 2.b.i.: Essential Critical Infrastructure. Work necessary to the operations and maintenance of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Version 2.0, as well as Texas Division of Emergency Management's (TDEM) online list of additional essential services as they are approved by TDEM (www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices), provided that they carry out those services or that work in compliance with social distancing requirements of six feet to the extent possible. See Attachment (CISA's Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0). Essential Businesses providing essential infrastructure should implement screening precautions to protect employees and all activities shall be performed in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

Section 2.b.v.: Essential Retail. Businesses that provide and support for food and agriculture as well as businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home, in conformity with CISA Guidance 2.0. Food producers and service providers, including grocery stores, warehouse stores, furniture suppliers, big box stores, bodegas, liquor stores, gas stations and convenience stores, farmers' markets that sell food products and household staples. Food cultivation, including farming, ranching, fishing, and livestock. Food production, including the production of canned goods, bottled beverages and other grocery items. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery, drive-thru or carry-out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free services to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only. The restriction of delivery or carry-out does not apply to cafes and restaurants located within hospital and medical facilities. Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers. Gas stations, auto supply, auto and bicycle repair, hardware stores, and related facilities.

Section 2.b.xii.: Transportation. Businesses related to the operation, maintenance, construction, and manufacture of transportation services. For example, (a) vehicle manufacturers, automotive suppliers and parts departments, car dealerships in order to provide support of personal and commercial transportation services, parts distributors, maintenance and repair facilities; (b) public transportation; (c) businesses supporting airport operations; (d) street and highway maintenance and construction; (e) gas stations and other fuel distribution businesses; (f) vehicles for hire, including public transportation services, Uber, Lyft, and taxicabs, that enable persons to travel to or from employers, service providers, or businesses exempted in this Order. People riding on public transit must comply with the six-foot social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible.


All other terms of the March 24, 2020 Order remain in full force and effect.

This Amended Order takes effect at 12:00 a.m. on April 4, 2020 and will continue through 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2020 or until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law.

ORDERED this 3rd day of April 2020, in the County of Harris, Texas.


IT IS SO ORDERED

LINA HIDALGO

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE

FAQ

FAQ

Stay Home, Work Safe Order FAQs (updated on 4/3/2020)

Will churches be permitted to conduct Easter Sunday celebrations?

Gatherings of any kind during this time creates a substantial threat to public health and safety. We applaud religious institutions across our region for taking action to save lives by moving their services online. At this crucial moment, faith leaders who provide religious and worship services by video and teleconference enable Harris County to greatly limit the spread of COVID-19 and the exponential growth of cases.

Religious leaders can find the Texas Attorney General’s guidance on this topic here.

If I have added sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer to my business inventory, will my business be considered essential?

No. Retooling a non-essential business to become essential requires the business to change its focus from producing non-essential goods and services to producing essential goods and services. Retooling does not consist of adding a few putatively essential items to an inventory that consists of non-essential products.

Where a non-essential business does retool, it should apply for an exemption on www.ReadyHarris.org/StayHome and provide proof of retooling.

Are furniture stores permitted to stay open?

Yes, retail stores that primarily sell furniture and do not engage in general retail are considered essential retail, and are permitted under this Order. These stores must adhere to social distancing and sanitization rules, and must not retail non-essential items during the period that the Stay Home, Work Safe Order is in effect.

Can real estate agents still show homes under the Stay Home, Work Safe Order?

Real estate agents are being discouraged from showing homes in person, and should use online tools and virtual tools to the greatest extent possible.

Can I call a plumber or electrician into my home for emergency maintenance?

Yes, plumbers and electricians are permitted to work in a residence in the event of a domestic water leak or electrical fault or to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences. They also may work as a part of residential home construction. However, non-essential home projects such as changing light fixtures or plumbing fixtures for aesthetic reasons are not permitted.

Are tennis courts permitted to stay open?

No, tennis courts are closed.

Are gun ranges and firearms dealers cleared to operate?

We are following the Texas Attorney General’s running on this matter. Gun ranges and firearms dealers are cleared to operate under the President’s order and the Texas Attorney General’s opinion.

Is remodeling construction in my home permitted?

Residential construction and remodeling is permitted only for health, safety, and sanitation reasons, and it is allowed at essential businesses. Remodeling is not allowed at a residence for aesthetic or non-essential reasons.

Are CBD (cannabidiol) shops considered essential health care businesses?

No, CBD shops are not considered essential health care businesses and are not authorized to stay open under the Stay Home, Work Safe Order, nor is their operation consistent with guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Can I meet up with friends outside to walk together?

Outdoor activities such as walking are permitted as long as contact with individuals who are not in the same household is minimized and complies with social distancing requirements of six feet. Please be advised that gatherings of people may be questioned by law enforcement and those who violate this Order risk a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.

Are pet groomers essential?

Those pet groomers who provide care that allows animals to avoid veterinary illnesses or who provide care that owners cannot are permitted to operate under the CISA guidance that exempts “animal agriculture workers” and those who distribute “animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, [and] feed ingredients.” Groomers must engage in stringent infection control and follow social distancing guidelines.

Can I move to a new residence during the Stay Home, Work Safe Order?

Moving and movers are permitted under this Order as essential activities.

Are AA meetings still permitted under the Stay Home, Work Safe Order

AA meetings are permitted under this Order as essential mental health and substance abuse service providers. However, social distancing requirements must still be followed, including limiting attendees to 10 people and maintaining a distance of six feet.

What is the best way for restaurants to continue to operate under this Order?

Restaurants that serve food by take out, delivery, or drive-through are permissible under this Order. To ensure the safety of customers in lines, restaurants are required to have people stand single file on spots marked with tape that are at least 6 feet apart. Restaurants must also ensure social distancing among staff to the greatest extent possible.

Restaurants are encouraged to take additional measures such as:

  • Having people wait in cars until texted or notified that their order is ready
  • Encouraging people to order and prepay for take-out online (rather than paying with cash or card on site)
  • Asking people to clean their hands with sanitizer made available at the cash register at the restaurant before and after purchase (automatic, touchless dispensers are ideal)
  • Setting up a “take-out station” in front of the main entrance of the restaurant so that people do not need to enter the building
  • Increasing “touchless delivery” options

My business provides services or products to an Essential Business. Am I exempt from the Stay Home requirement?

Businesses that supply Essential Businesses with support or utilities may be exempt from the Stay Home, Work Safe requirement. However, even though a business may be exempt from the Stay Home, Work Safe requirement, that business still must implement social distancing rules to the extent possible. Additionally, just because a business is essential, that does not mean it cannot assign those who can effectively from home to do so. Remember: the more people who work at home, the greater the likelihood that the spread of COVID-19 will be impaired. We recommend that any business or service that is unsure if it is an “Essential Business” or “Essential Service” review the Order with legal counsel and apply for a waiver if necessary on www.ReadyHarris.org/StayHome.

I live in and work in different counties. How do I handle this situation?

If you reside in Harris County, you can travel to work -- whether in the County or outside it -- only if you are performing work for an essential business or are providing an essential service as that is defined in the Order. Employment at a non-essential business outside Harris County does not exempt you from the Stay Home, Work Safe Order.

Similarly, if you live outside Harris County, you can travel into Harris County for work only if you are employed by an essential business or are providing an essential service.

My business is not considered an “Essential Business,” but can I still continue to operate if I meet all social distancing guidelines?

No. Those who violate the Order risk a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. If you believe your business should be considered an “Essential Business” or “Essential Service,” you may apply for an Essential Business Exemption on the Ready Harris website, www.ReadyHarris.org/StayHome.

Do “Essential Workers” need a special ID to be out?

It depends. At this time, the Order does not require proof that you are allowed to be outside your residence because the Order presumes that citizens will adhere to their civic duty and follow the Order for the greater good of the community. However, some organizations -- such as the Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston -- are encouraging employers to provide a letter to their essential employees reflecting that they are being asked to work. If your employer is an essential business and you have an identification badge for your job, you can elect to show that badge to law enforcement should you be stopped. Law enforcement is focused primarily on educating the public, but they have and will continue to stop people who they believe may be in violation of the Order.

Can I keep my business open while my Essential Business Exemption application is being processed?

No.

Are childcare and adult/senior care available?

Residential care for seniors and adults and home-based childcare are considered part of healthcare operations and permitted under the Order. Childcare facilities that serve employees who are working for essential businesses or providing essential services also can operate. However, childcare cannot be provided for non-essential workers. Therefore, childcare providers must ascertain that the individual who is seeking care for a child is an essential worker under the Order.

Are landscaping and maintenance projects allowable?

Yes. Yard and maintenance crews are listed in Section 2(b)(vii) of the Order as an essential service necessary to maintain essential operations at residences and essential businesses.

Are Golf Courses and Driving Ranges allowed to stay open?

Driving ranges must be closed, but golf can be played as long as players bring their own equipment. Golf carts, rakes, flag sticks, and other shared equipment or gear should not be available.

Are funeral services allowed?

Funeral gatherings are permitted as long as they are limited to a total of up to 10 people, including staff, and social distancing practices must be in place.

Are beauty supply stores and salons allowed?

No. These are considered non-essential businesses and are not authorized. 

Contact Us

Contact Us

If you have questions on the Stay Home, Work Safe order submit an email to stayhome@cjo.hctx.net.

Reporting Stay Home, Work Safe Violations

Reporting Stay Home, Work Safe Violations

On Tuesday, March 24, County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed a Stay Home, Work Safe order outlining measures to protect public health. The violators of this order are subject to fines and up to 180 days in jail. To report non-essential entities violating current public health orders click this link or call 832-839-6941.

Apply for a Waiver

Apply for a Waiver

To apply for an essential business exception, click here.