NEW ORLEANS — Cars are still flowing along the interstates as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow.
Also growing is the number of calls to Louisiana State Police after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered anyone driving into the Lone Star State from the Pelican State to self-quarantine for two weeks.
That order went into effect Monday.
"We want to prevent the #coronavirus from being imported into Texas," Abbott tweeted as the number of cases in his state continues to grow in places like Houston, Dallas and Austin but not in more rural areas.
“We want to emphasize that the border is not closed,” said Louisiana State Police Trooper David Levy.
Abbott had already ordered that anyone flying into Texas from New Orleans or the New York tri-state area must self-quarantine for two weeks.
Abbott's order to self-quarantine has now expanded to anyone who flies into Texas from places including California, Washington state, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Miami.
"Now I am updating that executive order," he said late last week in announcing the rules for anyone who drives into Texas from Louisiana.
People who self-quarantine after flying in have to use a form from the Texas Department of Public Safety to designate a quarantine location and could face unannounced visits to those locations.
Any violations could result in a fine up to $1,000, jail up to 180 days or both.
But the Texas Department of Public Safety said there will not be checkpoints or road closures with the newest order. The department would not discuss any other details about enforcement, saying only that a violation could result in criminal penalties.
Texas isn’t alone in screening visitors from Louisiana. Florida is doing that as well with actual checkpoints for those coming from Louisiana.
South Carolina is screening people who show up from New Orleans.
While Texas is asking people headed into that state to self-quarantine, Levy said there's nothing stopping you from going there.
“There is no restricted interstate travel,” he said. “In fact, there are some exceptions.”
Some people who won't have to self-quarantine are those traveling for medical treatments, commercial activity, military reasons or any emergency response.
“We're emphasizing that the state line at Texas and Louisiana is not closed and they're not turning around people at the state line,” Levy said.