AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Greg Abbott has suspended in-person visitations at county and municipal jails in Texas as part of the state's response to COVID-19.
Abbott's latest executive order does not apply to visitation by an attorney meeting with a client or a religious leader or member of the clergy.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 7 Austin News app. It is FREE!
Abbott previously directed state prisons, jails and juvenile justice facilities to restrict visitation when he issued his COVID-19 disaster declaration back in March. GA-25 adds another layer of defense to contain COVID-19 hotspots, prevent community spread, and protect staff and inmates, says the governor's office.
"Jails have shown to be highly susceptible to COVID-19 surges which is why we are focused on containing any potential hotspots and preventing spread both within jails and the community," said Abbott in a statement. "I encourage jails to utilize virtual visitation strategies to allow for visitations in a way that protects both staff and the inmate population. The State of Texas is committed to keeping all Texans safe, protecting our most vulnerable populations, and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Lone Star State."
The executive order says that some county and municipal jails were reportedly considering resuming in-person visitation, which "would risk further spread of COVID-19, both inside and outside the jails, and consume personal protective equipment" and "would subject inmates and staff to an unacceptable risk of importing COV1D-19 into county and municipal jails, where it could spread rapidly and threaten the health and safety of inmates and staff."
The executive order will remain in effect and in full force unless modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by Abbott.
READ THE FULL EXECUTIVE ORDER BELOW
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.