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Texas Governor Issues Statewide Face Covering Order

This afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced an Executive Order instituting a statewide face covering mandate Click Here, to go into effect at Noon on tomorrow, Friday, July 3rd. The Governor’s order requires that all persons in Texas (with minimal exceptions) wear a face covering when in public. There is an individual penalty of a warning for first offense and $250 fines for subsequent offenses for failing to comply with this order.  As a result of the Governor’s action today, retailers in Texas will no longer be in the position of enforcing or policing the wearing of face coverings, as it is now mandated statewide for all persons.

Current list of city and county face covering ordinances in Texas

Texas Retailers Association would like to provide as many resources as possible for the retail industry across the state. Please be sure to stay on top of the latest local ordinances by visiting www.txretailers.org regularly. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thank you!

Current list of city and county face covering ordinances:

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TRA statement on SCOTX decision on Austin PSL

Late on Friday, June 5th, the Texas Supreme Court issued its decision not to hear the city of Austin’s paid sick leave case (PSL), meaning the Austin ordinance is unconstitutional and voided. The city’s ordinance was struck down as unconstitutional by Texas’ Third Court of Appeals in 2019. Therefore, because the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, the Third Court’s ruling stands. 

Texas retailers are pleased the Texas Supreme Court has confirmed the Third Court of Appeals’ ruling on the Austin PSL ordinance. We continue to believe that one size fits all local employment ordinances are unconstitutional, as ruled by the Third Court of Appeals. These mandated employment ordinances are burdensome and hurt job growth. Most retailers in Texas provide quality wage and benefit packages including paid time off. 

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Governor Abbott Announces Phase III To Open Texas

June 3, 2020 - Governor Greg Abbott today announced the third phase of the State of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase III, effective immediately, all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions. Business that previously have been able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

As with previous phases, the Phase III plan is based on the advice and support of the four doctors on the Strike Force to Open Texas medical team. Via Executive Order, Phase III begins immediately. A breakdown of Phase III can be found below.

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Governor Abbott Announces Phase Two To Open Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the second phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase II, restaurants may increase their occupancy to 50% and additional services and activities that remained closed under Phase I may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Additionally, the Governor announced that public schools in Texas have the option to provide in-person summer school so long as they follow social distancing practices and health protocols laid out by DSHS. These classes may begin as soon as June 1st.

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Governor Abbott Announces Phase One To Open Texas, Establishes Statewide Minimum Standard Health Protocols

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced the first phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase I, certain services and activities are allowed to open with limited occupancy, and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is issuing minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow. The Governor also outlined special guidance for Texans over 65 and detailed a comprehensive mitigation plan for nursing homes in Texas. The Governor also announced a statewide testing and tracing program developed by DSHS that will help public health officials quickly identify and test Texans who contract COVID-19 and mitigate further spread of the virus. 

The Governor's announcement is accompanied by Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas. This detailed report, available on the strike force website, helps Texans understand phase one by outlining the new protocols, guidance, and recommendations. The report also includes a series of Open Texas Checklists that outline DSHS' minimum standard health protocols for all Texans.

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Governor Abbott Reopens Texas Retail

TRA members: 

This afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his initial executive orders to re-open the Texas economy from the COVID-19 crisis. Please refer to the Governor’s press release. In the press release you can find the Governor's Executive Orders and details about today's announcements


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Governor Abbot allows retailers to reopen for to-go or delivery only

TRA members: 

Earlier today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott laid out the state’s plans for re-opening the Texas economy from the COVID-19 crisis. Attached is the Governor’s press release. In the press release you can find the Governor's Executive Orders and details about today's announcements.

As part of his plan he issued an executive order today which amends the current Texas “stay at home order” for the retail sector. Today’s order allows for those retailers who are not covered by DHS/CISA guidance, essentially, those who were up to now not deemed essential, to reopen for to-go or delivery only, as of next Friday, April 24th. Today’s order does not change the operations of those retailers who have been operating as current essential businesses such as grocery, pharmacy, home improvement, etc… Therefore, as of next Friday, April 24th, the entire retail sector in Texas will be allowed to operate at some level.


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Governor Abbott Extends Disaster Declaration For COVID-19

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a number of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

"By extending my Disaster Declaration, we are ensuring the state of Texas continues to have adequate resources and capabilities to support our communities and protect public health," said Governor Abbott. "I urge all Texans to continue practicing social distancing and abide by the guidelines laid out by the CDC and my Executive Orders to slow the spread of COVID-19."

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Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order, Implements Statewide Essential Services And Activities Protocols

March 31, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The Governor’s Executive Order renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services. 

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Injunction issued on Dallas PSL ordinance

Despite all we are all going through with the fight against and response to the COVID-19 crisis, this morning we received some good news from another battle TRA has been waging on your behalf. TRA and its fellow members of the Alliance for Securing and Strengthening the Economy in Texas (ASSET) coalition have secured an injunction by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas of the city of Dallas’ paid sick leave ordinance (PSL), which was set to begin enforcement on April 1 (tomorrow).

As we have maintained all along, it is our belief that retailers are committed to the well being of their employees, whether that’s implementing policies to protect employee health and safety, providing benefits or working to ensure they can make payroll so employees can take care of themselves and their families. One-size-fits-all policies of these regulations across Texas does nothing but create uncertainty in our economy, which is the last thing employees, employers and job seekers need in the wake of this unprecedented national crisis. Therefore, Texas retailers welcome the federal court’s ruling today on the Dallas PSL ordinance, and look to the Texas Supreme Court to rule in our favor on the Austin PSL ordinance, so that these local PSL can be ruled unconstitutional statewide.

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Joint Letter to Texas Governor from TRA, RILA and NRF about "Essential Services"

Dear Governor Abbott:

The health and safety of employees, customers and families is the top priority for retailers in Texas. On behalf of the members of the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Texas Retailers Association, we appreciate your leadership and the swift efforts of your Administration to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of public health as well as the broader economic implications in Texas. Retail is Texas’s largest private-sector employer, supporting over 3.5 million jobs.
Retailers are following recommendations provided by the CDC and share the immediate goal of slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, many retailers are stepping up during this global health crisis to assist with drive-through COVID-19 testing sites on their properties. Families are counting on retailers right now and retailers are determined to be there for them. This is an unprecedented situation that demands an “all hands on deck” approach, and retailers are eager to do their part. Our organizations believe that retail business owners are in the best position to determine their ability or inability to remain open and serving their communities.
Retailers in Texas and throughout the United States are investing considerable resources and effort into following CDC guidance to routinely clean and sanitize their facilities. Stores that are open to the public are adjusting hours they are open to the public in order to re-stock and sanitize the entire store – including shopping carts, checkout lanes, shelves among other areas. Distribution centers and warehouse facilities not open to the public are also dedicating significant resources to sanitation and following social distancing for their employees.

Counties and local governments in Texas are considering further instructions to close certain businesses they deem “non-essential.” We ask that your Administration carefully consider which businesses are “essential” and “non-essential” retail and provide uniform guidance for every jurisdiction in the state to follow. It is critically important not to overlook the important role that distribution centers play not just in Texas, but in supplying out-of-state communities with essential goods.



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Coronavirus from Office of Texas Governor

Access to information directly from the Office of the Governor Greg Abbott. Find waivers issued by the governor, resources for employers, resources for job seekers, MealFinder Map for Texas Students, Updates from the Texas Education Agency and News from the Office of the Governor. 

https://gov.texas.gov/coronavirus

Governor Abbot Declares Disaster, Closes Schools, Bars, Gyms Statewide, Restaurants "To-Go" Only

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) took statewide action Thursday, March 19, 2020 to mirror actions taken locally in Dallas and Tarrant counties earlier this week by declaring a disaster and ordering schools, bars, clubs and gyms to close and for restaurants to offer only "to go" service.

The statewide declaration comes after more than 160 people across the state have been infected by the virus including four who have died, three of whom were in North Texas. In Dallas alone on Thursday, 20 new cases were confirmed including one death.

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Governor Abbot Waives Certain State Trucking Regulations

Governor Greg Abbott has announced that he is waiving certain regulations related to commercial trucking in the state of Texas. The suspensions will expedite commercial vehicle delivery of more supplies in each truckload as Texas works to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the state.

These waivers were requested by and will be coordinated through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and are part of the actions Governor Abbott is taking under the State of Disaster he declared yesterday.

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The USMCA is finally done. Here’s what is in it

President Trump notched his first major win on trade Tuesday after Democrats signed off on a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

So what exactly does the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (a.k.a. USMCA) change?

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Paid Sick Leave Update

Earlier today, State District Judge Sakai in San Antonio, granted our motion for temporary injunction regarding San Antonio’s “Safe and Sick Leave” Ordinance (PSL ordinance). This is great news because the ordinance was set to go into effect on Dec. 1. The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) is pleased Judge Sakai sided with the rule of law in today’s ruling.  By enjoining substantially, the same ordinance declared unconstitutional by the 3rd Court of Appeals, the Court preserves the status quo for employers during this critical time of year. 

Employers of all sizes can now focus on serving their customers instead of shouldering the burden of an unconstitutional ordinance.  Represented by Attorney Roland F. Gonzales, TRA alleges the San Antonio ordinance, not only violates The Texas Minimum Wage Act, but violates provisions of the Texas Labor Code, FLMA, and ADA. 

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Tobacco 21 Bills Gain Local, State and Federal Traction

 

History tells us that people have smoked tobacco for thousands of years. More than three generations ago, the public began to speculate about the health of smoking, and some fifty years ago, the Surgeon General ruled that health warnings were required on each pack of smokes. The next few decades saw the significant rise of tobacco taxes, the introduction of the minimum purchase age and the passage and implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. 

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New beer, wine and tobacco laws

This past legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed several laws which impact Texas retailers who sell beer and wine, as well as tobacco. These new laws went into effect Sunday, September 1st. Although we understand the Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission (TABC), as well as the Texas Comptroller’s office have communicated with our state’s retailers about these new laws and their impacts or changes, we wanted to make sure all TRA members had the most updated information. 

Below for your reference are an industry notice from TABC, which includes a detailed document reflecting all of the changes impacting TABC enacted last session, as well as this link from the Comptroller’s office regarding the new Over 21 Tobacco law. The link contains helpful information along the right hand side. However, we understand that there is still ambiguity regarding what constitutes acceptable ID’s for the military exemptions for tobacco purchases. TRA is in contact with the Comptroller’s office on this issue and we have asked them to issue clarifying guidance to retailers ASAP. Here is a link to more information about including the "Texas Retailer Tobacco Packet." We will continue to monitor this and report back as we learn more details.

Paid Sick Leave Update

Dallas:

On July 29th, several plaintiffs aligned with TRA filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Collin County, in the northwest suburbs of Dallas, seeking to block the Dallas PSL ordinance. An initial hearing on this lawsuit is expected in the coming days. Although the court could rule to temporarily invalidate the Dallas PSL ordinance (while the full case is litigated), it is unfortunate that this outcome will not be known until possibly several days or even weeks into August. TRA and our business allies are confident this will be the result, however with it now being August 1st, the Dallas PSL ordinance is technically in effect at this time, although the city has stated that fines will not be levied until April 1, 2020. As a result TRA is strongly suggesting member companies who have employees working within the City Limits of Dallas do two things as of August 1st:

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