Coronavirus in Texas: State looking to let SNAP recipients order groceries online, report says

A store in downtown El Paso is shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.
(Credit: Emily Kinskey)
A store in downtown El Paso is shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. (Credit: Emily Kinskey) (The Texas Tribune)

Tuesday’s biggest developments:

  • Gov. Greg Abbott to provide update on state's efforts to limit COVID-19 spread
  • Report: Texas looking to join program allowing online grocery orders for SNAP recipients
  • Oil and gas regulators meet after prices plunge into the negatives

Report: Texas looking to join program allowing online grocery orders for SNAP recipients

[10:55 a.m.] Texas has requested to be part of a pilot program that allows SNAP recipients to order groceries online, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Currently Lone Star Cards — Texas’ electronic benefit transfer card which works like a debit card — can only be used to buy groceries in-store as deemed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. While many Texans have turned to online grocery shopping and delivery services to limit exposure to the new coronavirus, these resources aren’t available to families who use SNAP.

In-person shopping has long been a concern for groups including the elderly, people with disabilities and people in food-insecure areas, whose access barriers have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. As of Tuesday, the pilot program, which launched in April, is only available through Amazon, Walmart and a few local grocery stores in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Oregon and Washington, according to the USDA. — Stacy Fernández

Gov. Greg Abbott to provide update on state’s efforts

[10:35 a.m.] In a 2 p.m. news conference Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott will provide the latest information about efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Nearly 20,000 Texans have tested positive, and 495 died from the virus as of April 20, according to state health officials. You can watch the news conference here.