3/25/20

Harris County, Texas Under “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order

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On March 24, 2020, County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” order (the Order) for Harris County and the city of Houston.  The Order went into effect at 11:59pm on March 24th and will remain in effect until 11:59pm on April 3rd.  The Order is subject to amendment as is deemed necessary by ongoing changes in circumstance. The full text of the order can be found here.

The Order requires all individuals, anywhere in Harris County, to stay at home unless performing certain Essential Activities or going to work to provide Essential Business and Essential Government services.  Any business that is not an Essential Business as defined by the Order may continue operations if its employees are able to work from their residences.  Businesses that are not essential as defined by this Order may complete and submit an application to be considered essential at www.ReadyHarris.org.

The Order identifies a series of businesses that are essential to the City of Houston and Harris County and may remain operational.  These businesses and industries are detailed in this chart. The Order also states that a business that falls under one or more of the sixteen critical infrastructure sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is likely essential and may remain operational, provided the business can carry out its work in compliance with social distancing requirements of six feet to the extent possible.  A listing of the “CISA Critical Sectors” can be found here.

Essential Business employers should remain cautious and try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace.  The Order requires that Employers enforce social distancing measures of six feet to the extent possible.  Employers should also provide access to hand washing facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer and post a sign in their business advising members of the public not to enter if they are experiencing respiratory illness.  Employees should not be required to provide a doctor’s note if they call in sick, and they should be encouraged to remain at home if they or someone in their household are experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms.

If you have questions concerning state closure orders or the FCMSA emergency declaration, please contact your Vorys attorney.

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