Harris County issues new Stay Home-Work Safe order through May 20 aligned with state guidelines

A new Stay Home-Work Safe order in Harris County will run through May 20 unless extended further. The new order is in alignment with orders from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allowing certain businesses to reopen at 25% capacity. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
A new Stay Home-Work Safe order in Harris County will run through May 20 unless extended further. The new order is in alignment with orders from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allowing certain businesses to reopen at 25% capacity. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

A new Stay Home-Work Safe order in Harris County will run through May 20 unless extended further. The new order is in alignment with orders from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allowing certain businesses to reopen at 25% capacity. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated 4:50 p.m.

Editor's note: This story was updated to provide clarification and context on the April 30 expiration of the statewide stay-at-home order in Texas.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed a new version of her Stay Home-Work Safe order May 1 in alignment with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's more relaxed orders issued in April, which allows certain businesses to reopen and operate at 25% capacity.

Hidalgo's amended order, which now runs through 11:59 p.m. May 20, directly references an April 30 opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that specifies which businesses are to remain closed, including bars; gyms; public swimming pools; interactive amusement venues, such as bowling alleys; massage establishments; tattoo and piercing studios; and salons. Communal playgrounds and park benches remain closed, and contact sports remain prohibited.

Although a statewide stay-at-home order in Texas expired April 30, the Harris County order calls on all Texans to continue to minimize social gatherings and stay home aside from essential travel and trips to businesses that were reopened under Gov. Abbott's order. The order similarly encourages residents to wear face coverings in public without making it an outright requirement. Gov. Abbott previously said his orders on the subject trump local orders.


"We need to remain vigilant for a phased reopening to work," Hidalgo wrote in a May 2 tweet.

Harris County also launched a new system for residents to report violations, including businesses that should not be open and businesses operating at more than 25% capacity.

Gov. Abbott previously stated that a second phase of reopening could take place May 18 depending on trends in new coronavirus cases. The second phase could potentially include the reopening of bars, salons and gyms. Venues that were allowed to reopen in Phase 1—restaurants, retailers, movie theaters and malls—could also see limits on capacity expand to 50%.

Harris County's new order was issued the same day Houston-area businesses and restaurants began reopening under the Phase 1 guidelines.

A roundup of business updates in Houston can be found here.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.