9 answers to your most pressing questions about Houston, Harris County’s stay-home-work-safe order

You’re not the only one with lots of questions

Passengers wear protective face masks in a toilet after arrives in Houston International Airport on March 14, 2020 in Houston, Texas.
Passengers wear protective face masks in a toilet after arrives in Houston International Airport on March 14, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (2020 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – KPRC 2 was flooded with questions Tuesday after orders were issued for multiple areas amid the coronavirus crisis across the Houston area.

Here are some of the questions you shared with us and answers based on the order.

Q: Can I still work for Uber Eats delivering food?

A: Yes. Based on the order, employees can still provide food delivery services. Read more here about essential work.

Q: If I live in Harris County, but work in another county, can I still work?

A: If you are caught in the county that’s under a ‘stay home’ order, it’s presumably punishable, even if you’re headed outside the county. Staying home is what this is all about, so going somewhere to work — no matter if it’s in a different county — is in defiance of the order.

Q: What about landscaping crews? Can they still go out to work?

A: Only “essential businesses” are permitted to function while under these orders. Landscaping is listed under those essential business sectors at this time.

Q: Will banks stay open?

A: The order says that those in financial services can continue to work. This includes workers who are needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments and more.

Q: Is Houston locked down and do we have to stay inside until April 3?

A: Officials are not describing this as a lockdown but rather a stay-home-work-safe order. This means that you should remain at home unless you are conducting essential business such as grocery shopping, picking up food or going to work at businesses that are deemed essential.

Q: Will liquor stores be open?

A: Yes, they continue to be open.

Q: Are day cares allowed to stay open?

A: At this point, daycares are still open and will continue to provide services for families. However, many Texas daycares are opting to close. Read more here. If your childcare provider closes, there are 14 YMCA of Greater Houston facilities that are offering child care to essential business workers.

Q: Is the construction of buildings viewed as essential?

A: Yes, it is. Construction of all residential and commercial buildings has made the list of essential.

Q: What should a person do if their employer is making them come to the office even though they don’t think it’s safe?

Legislators just passed two new acts that will allow employees to get paid leave due to coronavirus related issues and concerns. Both acts take effect on April 2. Some believe that the two acts can be stacked for a total of 60 paid days leave with a letter or call to human resources. Under these new acts, your employer can not retaliate by firing you or demoting you for taking advantage of the leave. Employers with fewer than 500 employees will receive a tax credit for paying employees who do take paid leave.

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Correction:This article was corrected to reflect that landscaping is considered an essential business under the current Harris County stay-home-work-safe order.

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