WASKOM, Louisiana (KETK) – On Sunday, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order mandating drivers who travel from Louisiana to Texas to undergo a 14-day quarantine or the remainder of their stay in Texas.
Louisiana is considered a ‘hot spot’ due to the high numbers of coronavirus cases. Gov. Abbott made the executive order to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing non-essential travel.
The order went into effect at noon on Monday, but many are still left questioning how this order will be enforced.
At the border, KETK Mye Ownes found State Troopers parked alongside the road on border between Louisiana and Texas.
Gov. Abbott’s order said that officials have the ability to make traffic stops where drivers will fill out a piece of paper with information regarding where they are traveling to for their required 14-day quarantine.
However, on Monday, drivers were seen having no problem crossing state lines.
“I was kind of wondering what’s going on. I saw the billboard up here on the freeway, I’m not sure exactly what that is, I just came from Louisiana and I haven’t seen anything in the Louisiana state, and I saw the sign saying quart one from noon on today and I’m not sure exactly what that means,” said Mike Fower, a truck driver.
The order does not apply for commercial activity, military, critical infrastructure, and medical personnel.
KETK reached out to Texas DPS to better understand how this will be enforced and whether drivers will be forced to stop as they enter Texas. Officials said they will not be establishing checkpoints, but the department will be increasing patrols in the area.
Texas State Rep. Chris Paddie represents District 9 which follows six of the 9 counties on the Louisiana-Texas border.
“I support the Governor’s actions he is clearly continued to take incremental steps to try to first and foremost keep our citizens safe,” he said.
Traveling and not following the 14-day mandated quarantine comes with a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.
“We recognize it just the manpower that it would take them to effectively institute checkpoints is really not feasible,” Paddie said. “They really don’t have the manpower to be able to do that so there is still some question as to exactly how you enforce it.”
Paddie received several questions regarding work and jobs on the Louisiana side and people who live on the Louisiana side but have land and cattle to take care of on the Texas side.
“The first question we started receiving ‘Does this affect me, can I still go to work?’ generally speaking the answer to that is yes,” he said.
He finished by asking everybody to heed the warnings and follow the advice of officials to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.