Harris County 'Stay Home, Work Safe Order': What's Allowed And What Isn't

Earlier today, Houston and Harris County leaders announced a "Stay Home, Work Safe Order," similar to a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order issued recently for other communities. The order goes into effect tonight at midnight and runs through April 3rd.

But what does that mean for residents? According to KHOU 11 News, below are lists of what activities are allowed and what businesses are exempt from the order.

Activities allowed under the order:

  • "Activities related to maintaining health and safety of your family and your pets" Examples include seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies and visiting a health care professional. The exception includes caring for a family member or pet in another household
  • "Activities to obtain necessary supplies for you, your family and household" This includes groceries or food, pet supplies and pet food, supplies needed to work from home and consumer products, such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies
  • "Outdoor activity, such as walking, running or cycling" These activities are allowed under the order as long as social distancing -- staying 6 feet away from others -- is practiced; avoid parks,gyms or anyplace else that has surfaces you touch
  • "Working for an exempted business of government that is providing services needed by the public during this crisis" Under the order, all businesses are to close other than allowing employees to work from home, maintaining security and maintenance of the business' property, and facilitating information technology services that allow employees to work from home

Businesses that are exempt from the order include:

  • Healthcare operations - hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmaceutical companies and veterinary offices
  • Government functions that provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public - this includes first responders, emergency personnel, trash collection, water and electric utilities
  • School and education personnel - this includes public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities that are facilitating distance learning
  • Companies providing or maintaining infrastructure - this includes construction of public works, housing, or other infrastructure to support critical needs, like gas, electricity, sewage, water, internet, and telecommunications
  • Businesses related to transportation - this includes gas stations, repair shops, car dealerships, manufacturers, public transportation (buses, taxis, rideshare companies, and the airports)
  • Information technology companies providing and maintaining internet and telecommunications systems
  • Retail businesses that sell food, gas and household products - that includes grocery stores, big box stores, farmers' markets, laundromats, and dry cleaners
  • Charitable organizations that provide food, shelter, and services to economically disadvantaged or vulnerable populations - including animals
  • Hotels and other temporary residence facilities
  • Businesses providing home maintenance and other services - this includes mail and shipping companies, building maintenance, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and professional services (such as legal or accounting services necessary to comply with legally required activities like filing taxes
  • News media - this includes newspapers, television, radio, and other outlets providing information to the public
  • Financial institutions - this includes banks, credit unions, and title companies
  • Childcare services

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