Houston, Harris County issue ‘stay-at-home’ order

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston-area leaders ordered residents to stay home Tuesday, joining a growing a list of Texas cities that have urged people to shelter in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials for Houston and surrounding Harris County announced a “stay home, work safe” order, which will take effect at midnight Tuesday and run through April 3. Only essential businesses should remain open, which included grocery stores, gas stations, daycares and restaurants with delivery and takeout, the order said.

San Antonio and Dallas have imposed similar restrictions, while Fort Worth announced a stay-at-home order on Tuesday as well. The announcements come as Gov. Greg Abbott has declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order.

Nine deaths have been reported in Texas so far, along with more than 350 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness linked to coronavirus.

The vast majority of people who contract the virus recover within weeks. It causes only mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but it can lead to more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Fort Bend County Judge KP George has not indicated that he would place a stay-in-place order in the county, but he has amended the disaster declaration he put into motion last week to close gyms, movie theaters, bars, hair and nail salons and game rooms until April 3.

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