Does the Government Have the Authority to Make Me Stay at Home?
As you likely know by now, Governor Abbott has outlined an ongoing plan to reopen Texas businesses. Like many other states, Texas was under mandatory lockdown to limit the spread of the global pandemic now known as the coronavirus. Now, Texas is reopening in phases.
What gives state governors the authority to issue lockdown and reopening orders? State governors are given the authority to take these actions in their respective State Constitutions. Similarly, the federal government can execute orders as stated in the Constitution of the United States. The reason why they have this type of power is simple – it allows them to protect the safety and health of their citizens.
Federal and state governments can issue either isolation or quarantine orders in the face of contagious disease. Quarantine separates and restricts a person’s movement when they’ve been exposed to a contagious disease. Experts think a majority of the population has likely been exposed to COVID-19 already, so many state governments issued isolation or quarantine orders to prevent future spread.
Are My Rights at Risk During the Pandemic?
It’s established that governors CAN restrict our movements during this global pandemic, so does that mean you can get arrested for going outside? Have your rights totally been suspended due to a virus?
It’s crucial that you remember our Constitution was designed in such a way that it balances out the powers of government with the rights of individual citizens. Your rights have not been completely suspended. You have a right to appeal quarantine measures, and it will be the government’s burden to prove the limitations are justified.
For the most part, police forces around Texas and the nation are erring on the side of caution when arresting possible quarantine violators. No one is getting arrested for going to the grocery store, and most people in violation of quarantine orders are only getting warnings.
Despite that, anti-quarantine protests have broken out across the nation. Some believe that the government doesn’t have the authority to issue a quarantine order, while others simply want to have their voices heard when it comes to ending the lockdown. Many fear that opening up the country too soon will cause the coronavirus cases to spike again. Either way, these individuals all have the right to peacefully organize and protest the government as long as they’re adhering to social distancing measures.
What Should I Do If I Get Arrested During the COVID-19 Crisis?
If you get arrested during this COVID-19 crisis, then it’s crucial to hire legal representation right away. Whether you were protesting or accused of violating stay-at-home orders, an experienced attorney can help.
An attorney will help investigate what happened to determine if your legal rights were violated at any point during your arrest. Our firm will help you determine your best legal options and work diligently to help get your released from jail as soon as possible.
Is the Lockdown Over in Texas?
Governor Abbott has not let the protester’s concerns go unheard. He understands how important it is to open the state’s economy back up and get Texans back to work. Texas has the 10th largest economy in the world! In an attempt to balance this important aspect with the health of his citizens, he’s decided to enact a multi-step plan to reopen businesses.
The governor’s order has given businesses the ability to reopen. These businesses must adhere to certain social distancing requirements, though. Most businesses are restricted to only allowing a 25% occupancy. Businesses that are more contact-oriented, like salons, gyms, and barbershops can now operate with limited capacity.
On top of these guidelines, the governor is “strongly recommending” that everyone who can wear a mask do so during the next few weeks. Despite this recommendation, it won’t be mandatory.
So, is the lockdown over in Texas? Not exactly – but you’ll no longer be forced to stay at home. While you’re free to travel again, it’s still important to adhere to social distancing measures when you can. Governor Abbott himself agrees that a failure to adhere to advice from experts could cause the state to have to close down again.
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Everything You Need to Know About Your Legal Rights During the Pandemic
We’re living in an unprecedented time. Never before in modern history has the entire globe collectively decided to shut down their countries, temporarily close their borders and order their citizens to shelter in place.
Governments do have the authority to make you stay at home during this crisis, but that doesn’t mean your rights have gone to the wayside. Once the crisis passes and lockdown orders begin to expire, you’ll once again be able to enjoy all the freedoms we appreciate in the great state of Texas.
If a police officer or government official violated your rights during this crisis, then don’t hesitate to reach out to a legal representative as soon as you can. While the global pandemic is intense, it has not signaled the end of your civil liberties. Our firm is prepared to help you defend yourself. Reach out to our office now to discuss the specifics of your case.