Virus outbreak Texas

Vehicles wait to be screened at the Texas Louisiana state line near Orange on Sunday. Texas state troopers are now screening travelers coming into the state from Louisiana in accordance with an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbot.

Staff Reports

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers began stopping and screening travelers entering Texas from Louisiana on Sunday, a week after an order from Gov. Greg Abbott to begin the next day.

The effort is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 into Texas.

“It’s important for those entering Texas from Louisiana to be prepared to stop,” the department said in a statement to the newspaper.

Enforcement began as cases in the Shreveport area and across Louisiana continue rapidly increasing. On Sunday, according to the Louisiana Department of Health, the state added more than 500 new cases, pushing its total to more than 13,000. In the Shreveport area, the tally was 860 cases. The state also reported 68 deaths Sunday.

On Sunday, the DPS said travelers would be stopped at screening stations to complete the travel form required under Abbott’s order. Commercial motor vehicle traffic is not being stopped.

The order also calls for travelers with Texas as their final destination to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the state.

However, there are clear exemptions to the order for certain individuals. For example, it does not prohibit or limit Louisiana residents’ ability to travel into Texas for scheduled medical treatment. And the order to self-quarantine doesn’t apply to people traveling in connection with commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response or critical-infrastructure functions.

The DPS declined to confirm where checkpoints were set up, saying it does not discuss specifics related to its operational plans.

“The area of operations will remain in Texas counties that border Louisiana, “ the department said. “The established screening stations will take place on major roadways in these counties, including interstate highways and other high-volume routes.”

Earlier Sunday, the Louisiana State Police informed motorists that Texas state troopers had begun screening vehicles at checkpoints on all roads entering the state.

The DPS said motorists should be prepared to stop, and that they will be asked to complete the travel form required under Abbott’s order, which is known as GA-12. The form can be found online at bit.ly/2x6Jzwj .

The form, which asks for basic identification, drivers license information, home address and phone numbers, makes clear the penalties for those who don’t abide by the order. “Failure to comply is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, or both,” it says.