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The Open Texas Plan: Expanding Phase 2 of the Governor’s COVID-19 Reopening Plan

Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-18 (GA-18) regarding the reopening of Texas businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. GA-18 was part of the Governor’s 3-phase plan for reopening the state and was issued in tandem with a report entitled Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas.

The Open Texas Plan: A State and Local Update

On April 27, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-18 (Order) regarding the reopening of Texas businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. The Order permits essential services, as defined in the Order, to continue operations, and expands the types of businesses authorized to reopen on May 1, 2020, including retailers, restaurants, movie theaters, museums and libraries, contact-free outdoor sports, places of worship, and single-person offices, nearly all of which are subject to a 25% occupancy restriction. The Order also permits all licensed healthcare professionals to return to work with minor restrictions.

Knowing the Way to San Jose's Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On April 7, 2020, the San Jose, California City Council adopted two essentially identical ordinances that require covered employers to provide emergency paid sick leave. The first item is an emergency ordinance that takes effect immediately, whereas the second item is a regular ordinance for which a second reading must occur. Based on comments made at the city council’s meeting, the city council's logic is, should a legal challenge to the urgency ordinance occur, there would be a solid legal foundation for the regular ordinance. Both ordinances will sunset on December 31, 2020. As with other local ordinances enacted in Los Angeles and San Francisco, employers will not receive any tax credits or monetary relief for providing this additional benefit.

Texas Stay Home Orders: A State and Local Update

On March 31, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-14 relating to statewide continuity of essential services and activities during the COVID-19 crisis. “Essential services” is defined as everything listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0, plus certain religious services. Other essential services may be added to this list with the approval of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), which maintains an online list of essential services.

Dallas Paid Sick Leave Ordinance is Enjoined

In a long-awaited and much-anticipated decision, the federal court overseeing a legal challenge to the City of Dallas’s paid sick leave ordinance entered a preliminary injunction preventing the city from enforcing the ordinance during the pendency of the litigation.

Six More Texas Counties Join Dallas County by Implementing Shelter in Place Orders

Summary: After Dallas County took the lead on Monday, March 23, by implementing a “shelter-in-place” order, other Texas counties quickly followed suit to take action to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Collin, Denton, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, and Tarrant counties have all implemented shelter-in-place orders to take effect at midnight on March 24, 2020 (Denton County’s order will take effect at midnight on March 25, 2020), and all will remain in effect as stated, or until either rescinded, superseded, or amended. Dallas County also issued an amendment to its “Stay Home Stay Safe” order setting forth specific enforcement provisions, providing that a violation of the order may be punishable through criminal or civil enforcement (a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days). Please see our March 23 Alert for more information on the Dallas County Order.

Breaking Rank: Collin County, Texas Issues “All Businesses Are Essential” Order

On March 24, 2020, Collin County, Texas Judge Chris Hill issued the county’s widely anticipated “stay-at-home” order (Order) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it one of 21 Texas counties or cities that have issued, or will be issuing, an order of this type to date.

Dallas County, Texas Issues “Stay Home Stay Safe” Order, Effective March 23

On March 22, 2020, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a “shelter in place” order (“Order”), available here, for individuals residing in Dallas County, Texas, effective as of 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 2020, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020. The owner, manager, or operator of any facility or business that is likely to be impacted by the Order is strongly encouraged to post a copy of the Order onsite and to provide a copy to any member of the public requesting one.

Dallas County Issues First Shelter-in-Home Order in Texas

In an effort to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 418.108, has issued a stay-at-home Order that takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 2020, and continues until at least 11:59 p.m. April 3, 2020.

Texas Court Rejects Effort To Dismiss Non-Compete Lawsuit On Free Speech Grounds

Texas courts are increasingly encountering efforts to challenge restrictive covenant agreements on free speech grounds, where the restricted activity includes business-related communications. A recent Texas appellate court decision indicates that this strategy has its limits.
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