Federal, Texas Governments Provide COVID-19 Guidance | Jackson walker
On July 29, 2021, President Biden and Governor Abbott provided advice regarding COVID-19.
President Biden’s announcement for federal affairs
At a press conference, President Biden announced that all federal personnel and visitors to federal buildings must wear face coverings that cover their nose and mouth. In addition, all federal government employees will be required to certify their immunization status. Anyone who does not certify or is not vaccinated will need to wear a face covering, be tested regularly, practice social distancing and limit travel to work. President Biden also announced that he is directing his administration to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors.
The White House has yet to issue executive decrees related to the announcement. Jackson Walker will continue to cover any news related to this announcement or COVID-19 in general on JW.com/Coronavirus.
Executive Order of Governor Abbott AG 38
Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA 38 relating to the continued response to the COVID-19 disaster. The ordinance provides requirements and guidance regarding testing, vaccines and operating limits for businesses and other establishments.
GA 38 requires all hospitals licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and all Texas public hospitals (except mental hospitals) to submit to the State Department of Health Services of Texas (DSHS) daily reports on hospital bed capacity in the manner prescribed by the DSHS. The order also requires private or public entities that use an FDA-approved test to submit daily reports of all test results, positive and negative, to the DSHS.
Regarding vaccines, GA 38 prohibits any government entity from requiring any person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered as part of an emergency use authorization. Under the ordinance, state agencies and political subdivisions are also not to adopt or enforce any ordinance, ordinance, policy, regulation, rule, or similar measure that requires a person to provide, as a condition of receiving a service or entering a business, documents regarding vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.
The ordinance also states that any public or private entity that receives or will receive public funds by any means, including grants, contracts, loans or other disbursements of taxpayer money, will not require not for a consumer to provide documentation regarding vaccine status for any COVID-19 vaccine administered under emergency use authorization as a condition of receiving any service or entering any location. Under GA 38, the ban on requiring vaccines or documents regarding vaccination status replaces any contradictory orders issued by local authorities in response to the COVID-19 disaster; However, the ordinance does not limit the ability of nursing homes, state-funded living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities to require documentation of a resident’s immunization status for any COVID-19 vaccine.
Regarding face coverings, the decree prohibits any government entity or official from requiring someone to wear a face covering or to require another person to wear a face covering. This provision of the ordinance replaces any face covering requirement imposed by a local government entity or official. State-sponsored living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Texas Department of Juvenile Justice, and all county and municipal jails may continue to use appropriate policies concerning the wearing of face coverings.
GA 38 encourages individuals to follow safe practices in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates, including wearing face covers over their noses and mouths when social distancing is not possible. The order specifies, however, that a face covering may not be required or required in any jurisdiction in Texas. It also provides that there are no operating limits related to COVID-19 for any business or other establishment. The decree allows business activities and legal proceedings to take place without COVID-19-related limitations imposed by government entities or local officials. These provisions replace any contradictory local orders in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
The ordinance allows public schools to follow guidelines issued by the Texas Education Agency and encourages private schools and higher education institutions to set similar standards. The executive order directs nursing homes, state-funded nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities to follow guidelines from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. County and municipal prisons must follow the guidelines of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards for visitation.
The final provisions of GA 38 state that imprisonment in prison is not an available sanction for violation of this decree. The order also says it suspends various laws to the extent necessary to ensure that local authorities do not confine people to jail for violating an executive decree or local decree in response to the COVID-19 disaster. GA 38 replaces all pre-existing orders related to COVID-19 and rescinds them in their entirety with the exception of GA 13 (relating to detention in county and municipal jails during the COVID-19 disaster) and GA 37 (restricting the transport of migrants to Texas due to COVID-19).