Big Rigs Allowed to Bypass New COVID-19 Checkpoints Along Texas/Louisiana Border
Austin, TX – Big rigs are allowed to bypass new COVID-19 checkpoint screenings set up along roadways connecting Texas and Louisiana.
As part of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent Executive Order GA-12, “Every person who enters the State of Texas through roadways from Louisiana, or from any other state as may be proclaimed hereafter, shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Texas or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter.”
The new checkpoints became operational on Sunday, April 5, as Texas officials seek to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into the Lonestar State by those traveling from Louisiana, which is experiencing a significant outbreak, especially in New Orleans.
According to the latest data, Louisiana stands at 14,867 confirmed coronavirus cases and 512 deaths.
Texas has 7,276 confirmed cases and suffered 140 deaths thus far.
As part of the screening measures, motorists will be asked to provide Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials a quarantine location in Texas, such as a residence or a hotel, and a full name, date of birth, home address, telephone number, and driver license or passport information before being allowed to pass.
Providing false information is punishable by up to 180 days in jail or a $1000 fine.
Additionally, the Executive Order also allows for DPS Special Agents to conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance by confirming the physical presence of covered persons.
Similar COVID-19 screening checkpoints along the Florida borders with Georgia and Alabama were implemented last week.
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The checkpoint on I-95 got off to quite a rough start as traffic experienced backups for miles until Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials closed it down for approximately four hours to formulate a different traffic routing plan.
Also late last month, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) implemented similar screening checkpoints for all travelers entering the state after first screening only entrants from New York State.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo expanded the screenings after receiving swift political blowback from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who threatened to sue Rhode Island over the policy.
Just as in Florida and Rhode Island, the Texas checkpoints also allow commercial vehicles to bypass.
Per Governor Abbot’s order, the self-quarantine measures “shall not apply to people traveling in connection with commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions, as may be determined by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.”