Trump approves major disaster declaration for Texas

President Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for the state of Texas and has ordered federal assistance to help with the COVID-19 outbreak response.

The federal assistance will supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the virus beginning on Jan. 20 and continuing, says a release from the White House.

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Abbott issued a statement on the declaration, thanking Trump for his "swift action."

“Texas is aggressively pursuing and implementing all necessary strategies to limit the impact of COVID-19, and I thank President Trump for his swift action to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas,” said Abbott. “The President’s declaration opens up new sources of funding for individual and public assistance that will help Texas respond to this public health emergency and protect public health and safety.”

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Abbott requested the declaration, citing the need for additional federal assistance to save lives, to protect property, public health, and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of COVID-19.

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The declaration means federal funding is available for crisis counseling for affected individuals and to the state, eligible local governments, and certain private nonprofits for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for all areas in the state impacted by COVID-19, says the release.

Last week, Abbott issued a public health disaster, the first in Texas since 1901. The executive orders, which take effect at midnight Friday, March 20 and go through midnight on Friday, April 3, will bring the state in line with CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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The public health disaster orders schools to be closed statewide until at least April 3. The disaster also orders a ban on dine-in eating and gathering in groups of more than 10 as the state ramps up efforts to battle the coronavirus. Abbott's order also will shut down gyms and bars. It also bans visits to nursing and retirement homes unless there is a critical need.



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