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Texas border patrols begin, La State Police attempt to clarify travel restrictions

3 years 8 months 1 week ago Tuesday, March 31 2020 Mar 31, 2020 March 31, 2020 5:04 AM March 31, 2020 in News
Source: Associated Press

ORANGE, TX  — Texas began a mandatory self-quarantine at its Louisiana border, Monday, a directive that would supposedly require drivers who are stopped to fill out forms indicating where they would isolate.

But according to The Associated Press, on Monday traffic moved freely across state lines. 

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order, issued on Sunday and effective Monday, was meant to ratcheted up attempts to isolate travelers coming from areas of the country where coronavirus cases are rising fastest. Abbott said Texas state troopers would increase patrols near the Louisiana border but what remains unclear is exactly how these troopers are meant to conduct their patrols. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement it would not disclose details about enforcement, adding there would be no checkpoint on the Louisiana border at this time. It also did not immediately respond to requests about how many drivers had been stopped Monday.

That said, on Monday, Louisiana State Police issued a description of what Louisiana drivers traveling to Texas should expect.

The post said, in part, "Nothing in the Texas executive order “closes” the border or otherwise restricts traveling into or out of Texas as long as Louisiana residents comply with the directions of the order which “mandates a 14-day self-quarantine for every person who enters the State of Texas through roadways from Louisiana. Additionally, there are clear exemptions to the order for certain individuals. This order does not prohibit or limit in any way motorists' ability to travel into Texas for scheduled medical treatment."

The post went on to explain that the order to self-quarantine does not apply to people traveling in connection with commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions.

The number of people with COVID-19 in Texas has risen to nearly 2,900, the state health department said Monday. The reported fatalities were at 38, up by four from Sunday, while the number of diagnosed cases rose by almost 400. Harris County and Dallas County both had around 500 confirmed cases Monday, according to the state tally.

Two Texas prison inmates filed a class action lawsuit seeking soap, hand sanitizer and social distancing for prisoners amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 69- and 73-year-old men who brought the suit allege that conditions at the Wallace Pack Unit, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Houston, violate their constitutional rights by endangering their health and safety. They are suing on behalf of a class of older inmates in poor health.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said the agency is working closely with state and federal health officials to protect the health of staff and prisoners, some of whom have tested positive for COVID-19.

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