August 8, 2020

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August 05, 2020

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Texas Governor Issues Executive Orders to Reopen Business for Retail and Healthcare Employers

As detailed in our previous alert, Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently committed to begin the gradual process of reopening businesses in Texas. On April 17, 2020, Governor Abbott issued two Executive Orders that relate to the strategic reopening of select services as the first step to open Texas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact on Retail Employers

Executive Order GA 16 (“E.O. GA-16”) allows businesses that provide retail services that are not “essential services” to reopen, albeit with restrictions. Specifically, E.O. GA-16 establishes a “retail to-go” model that will allow such  businesses to reopen starting April 24, 2020, provided the reopened establishments deliver the items to customer’s vehicle, home or other location. Notably, Texas employers who reopen operations to provide retail to-go services are required to be in strict compliance with the terms required by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

E.O. GA-16 expressly supersedes any conflicting rules set by local officials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but only to the extent that such a local order restricts essential services or reopened services allowed by E.O. GA-16.

E.O. GA-16 will remain in effect until April 30, 2020, unless it is rescinded or modified by the Governor.

Impact on Healthcare Employers

Executive Oder GA 15 (“E.O. GA-15”) relates to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, it permits Texas hospitals and doctors to resume certain services, effectively loosening Governor Abbott’s previously mandated restrictions on nonessential surgeries. E.O. GA-15 provides that, effective April 22, 2020, all licensed health care professionals and facilities must continue to postpone “…all surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to diagnose or correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without timely performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death as determined by a patient’s physician…”

However, this prohibition does not apply to:

(a)     any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the PPE needed to cope with COVID-19, or

(b)     any surgery or procedure performed in a licensed health care facility that has certified in writing to Texas Health and Human Services Commission both (1) that it will reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, and (2) that it will not request any PPE from any public source—whether federal, state, or local—for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E.O. GA-15 will remain in effect until May 8, 2020, unless it is rescinded or modified by the Governor.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. We will continue to monitor legislative actions taken at the local, state and federal levels, and will be updating readers about changes relating to business reopening requirements in the coming months.

Copyright © 2020, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 111

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About this Author

Jayde Ashford Brown, Andrews Kurth, management side labor litigation lawyer, employment matters attorney
Associate

Jayde Ashford Brown represents corporate clients in management-side labor and employment matters arising under federal and state law, including, but not limited to Title VII, the FLSA, the FMLA, the ADA, the ADEA, and workers compensation under Section 451 of the Texas Labor Code. In addition to litigation, Jayde counsels clients on best practices relating to hiring and termination decisions, employment policies and employee investigations, and the OFCCP and related AAP obligations for federal contractors and subcontractors. Jayde also prepares and negotiates separation...

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Amber Rogers Employment Lawyer Hunton Andrews Kurth
Partner

Amber’s national practice assists clients with traditional labor relations and litigation, employment advice and counseling, and complex employment litigation.

Amber is Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and is a trial lawyer who has extensive experience representing and advising clients in traditional labor relations, such as collective bargaining, representation elections, decertification elections, unfair labor practice charges, arbitrating grievances, contract administration and interpretation, and union avoidance strategies.  Amber also serves as the Hiring Partner for the firm’s Dallas office.

Amber also provides strategic day-to-day advice and counseling for clients. As a part of Amber’s partnership with clients to avoid litigation, she frequently conducts and coordinates sensitive corporate investigations, and provides training presentations for clients on a multitude of topics such as pay equity, anti-harassment and anti-discrimination, diversity and inclusion, labor relations, and issues related to the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Amber’s litigation experience also includes regularly representing clients in wage and hour collective and class actions, trade secrets and post-employment restrictive covenant disputes, and complex employment discrimination.  Amber’s practice also focuses on defending employers before administrative agencies, such as the NLRB, EEOC, DOL, and OFCCP. Regarding the OFCCP, Amber’s work focuses on affirmative action work and audit defense, and advising and counseling clients on various diversity and inclusion policies and practices. Amber represents clients in all industries, and has particular experience working with clients in the energy and utilities, financial institutions, health care, food processing, staffing, manufacturers, transportation, and retail sectors.

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Alan Marcuis Employment Attorney Dallas Hunton AK
Partner

Alan represents management in complex labor and employment law matters, including contract, trade secret and post-employment restrictive covenants, EEO litigation, collective bargaining and labor relations.

At Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Alan serves as co-head of the Unfair Competition & Information Task Force and Hiring Partner for the firm’s Texas offices. He is a contributing author to the the firm’s Employment & Labor Perspectives blog.

Alan is admitted to practice in the...

214 979 3060 direct