IssuesStatewide NewsThe Back MicThe Back Mic: Timeline of Governor Abbott’s Response to Coronavirus

This week — a timeline of Governor Greg Abbott's actions taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic in Texas.
May 8, 2020

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Governor Abbott has been on the forefront of the state’s response to the coronavirus throughout the course of the pandemic, using his power as the state’s executive to issue executive orders, waive a myriad of regulations, and disseminate information to the press and the populace. 

Here’s a look at some of these actions taken by Abbott:

February 27: The governor receives his first public briefing on the threat of coronavirus, and discusses precautionary measures the state had begun taking.

March 13: Governor Abbott declared a State of Disaster for all Texas counties.

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March 14: Abbott waives his first set of regulations under the new disaster declaration.

March 19: Abbott issues his first coronavirus-related executive order.

March 22: In what would be the first of a series of healthcare-related orders, Abbott instructed healthcare professionals and facilities to “postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately necessary.” The attorney general then ruled that this included abortions, launching a legal volley between abortion providers and state leaders.

March 26: Abbott issues an executive order requiring mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for airport travelers coming to Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or the City of New Orleans.

March 27: Abbott deploys three National Guard Joint Task Force Brigades to assist with coronavirus response and drive-thru testing centers.

March 29: In an executive order, Abbott prohibits the release of violent felons, mandates a 14-day quarantine period for travelers from Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Miami as well as the states of California, Louisiana, and Washington.

March 31: Abbott issues an executive order extending social distancing guidelines to the end of April. Though he doesn’t issue a statewide shelter-in-place order outright, he asks Texans to stay home for the next month to flatten the curve and closes schools until at least May 4.

April 13: A $50 million small business loan program from Goldman Sachs is announced at an Abbott press conference. 

April 17: A task force is created to aid the governor as he formulates a timeline for the state’s reopening. 

April 27: Abbott announces the limited reopening of restaurants, shopping malls, retail stores, and movie theaters. Qualifying businesses would be allowed to operate at 25 percent of building capacity, or at 50 percent if located in a county with five or less confirmed cases of COVID-19. Contact tracing is included in the

May 5: Abbott announces that salons can open on May 8, while gyms and non-essential manufacturing businesses can reopen on May 18. 

May 7: With pressure mounting and a national spotlight on Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther, the governor announced he would be “modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order.” Abbott also referenced two Laredo women who were arrested in a sting operation for reopening their businesses.


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McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor serves as Senior Editor and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.