WASKOM, Texas (KETK) – On March 29, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order restricting travel to Texas from Louisiana by roadways due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in the neighboring state.
The order requires people crossing the state border to self-quarantine for 14 days or for their duration in Texas, but essential traffic is excempt including commercial activity, military, critical infrastructure, and medical.
At the start of the new restrictions, many questioned how Texas would enforce Abbott’s order.
On Sunday, April 5, checkpoints were set up by Texas DPS urging drivers to remain alert and use caution when driving in the area.
KETK’s Mye Owens visited the border where each driver was stopped by a State Trooper and required to fill out a form mandated by Gov. Abbott stating where they are traveling to for isolation.
While the detour may add extra time to your travels, many believe it is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Everybody doesn’t like it but when Greg Abbott put this in place you have to follow the laws with this virus going on we are losing a lot of people and only time will tell, but at the same time you have to follow the rules that have been set,” said Roger Brown, driver crossing into Louisiana for work.
In addition to gathering information, State Troopers are also handing out information packets letting drivers know what exactly Gov. Abbott’s executive order means.
“Lousiana is one of the states that has a higher rate of COVID positive residents and obviously there is a lot of people coming from Lousiana into Texas all the time and the last thing that we want to do is to have COVID 19 or the coronavirus imported into Texas from other states,” Gov. Abbott said.
Gov. Abbott made it clear for people who do not self-quarantine there will be consequences including fines and jail time. To help manage those driving into Texas, special agents will be doing unannounced visits to make sure you are in isolation away from the public.
In Louisiana, there are nearly 15,000 reported coronavirus cases with just over 7,000 reported in Texas.
“I’ve talked to the governor over there, he understands, we all understand this is a short term measure for the next few weeks, while all the states in the country are working to reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” Gov. Abbott said.
The peak of COVID-19 is expected to come in late April or early May. At that point, officials will be able to see clearly if the new measures paid off.