Just one day after President Joe Biden declared the COVID pandemic in the United States is over, Gov. Greg Abbott renewed his emergency COVID declaration for another 30 days. Texas is one of only 12 states continuing to operate under COVID emergency orders.
On March 13, 2020, Abbott announced declaration of a state of emergency over COVID-19. His first order came after 39 cases were reported in Texas. He has renewed the order each month since, for a total of 30 months.
As Texas enters the 31st month of the governor’s COVID emergency, most Texans have moved on. Gov. Abbott has not. On Monday, he declared “a state of disaster continues to exist in all counties due to COVID-19.”
According to the National Academy for State Health Policy, 38 states have ended their COVID emergency declarations. Last week, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced she would not be extending the COVID emergency in New York.
The original emergency declaration and renewals have been the basis of every COVID-related executive order issued since—including lockdowns and mask mandates, all without input from the state’s Legislature. Since then, the declaration has been used to restrict local governments from enacting their own stringent rules.
Despite the issue of executive overreach being a stated priority of the Republican Party of Texas last year, lawmakers refused to pass any restrictions on the practice. They also declined to consider efforts ending the emergency orders themselves.