In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent further spread into the state of Texas from hotspot areas, Governor Greg Abbott has tasked the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) with enforcing two Executive Orders surrounding travel into the state of Texas. GA-11 was issued on March 26 and specifically addresses air travel, while GA-12 was issued on March 29 and addresses travel by roadways from Louisiana into Texas.
The requirements under both Executive Orders are the same — a covered person under the mandated quarantines shall remain in the designated quarantine location for a period of 14 days or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter. A violation of the orders is subject to criminal penalties, and the department encourages all individuals to abide by all measures that have been enacted by the Governor to mitigate the consequences of the current public health disaster.
The quarantine restrictions related to air travelers do not apply to travel related to military service, emergency response, health response or critical infrastructure functions. The quarantine restrictions related to ground travel include all the previously mentioned exclusions, plus travel related to commercial activity.
Air Travel Under GA-11
Last week, Governor Abbott issued GA-11 requiring individuals traveling to Texas — with Texas being their final destination — through an airport from the Tri-State Area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as from the city of New Orleans, to comply with a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. GA-11 was expanded by proclamation on Sunday, March 29, to include air travelers coming into Texas from the following locations: California; Louisiana; Washington; Atlanta, Ga.; Chicago, Ill.; Detroit, Mich.; and Miami, Fl.
DPS Troopers are stationed at Texas airports to screen passengers traveling from the designated quarantine areas. Travelers who are subject to the self-quarantine are required to complete this travel form to provide DPS with identifying information, including their full name, date of birth, home address, driver license/passport information and quarantine location.
Road Travel Into Texas From Louisiana
Effective Monday, March 30, at noon, GA-12 states that every person who enters the state of Texas through roadways from Louisiana will be subject to the mandated 14-day self-quarantine. DPS has been tasked with enforcing GA-12, and the public can expect to see an increased law enforcement presence along the Texas/Louisiana border. The form for arrivals for road travelers is also available online.
Mandatory Terms & Enforcement
Pursuant to Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders, individuals must comply with the Mandatory Terms of Self-Quarantine. While we anticipate wide compliance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders, the department will vigorously enforce the executive order, as these orders are designed to protect the public and stop the spread of COVID-19. It is important to note that under Texas Government Code § 418.173, failure to comply with these mandatory terms is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, or both. DPS will take the appropriate enforcement action against anyone who fails to comply with the Executive Orders.
Travel information, including the required form and the mandates for self-quarantine, can be found online at www.dps.texas.gov/COVIDtravel.