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Authorities begin screening travelers at state line

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ORANGE, Texas (KTRK) — Travelers from outside Texas will have to adhere to more than the honor system to get into the eastern part of the state now that state troopers have set up checkpoints on interstates and highways amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The new checkpoints were set up Sunday and come less than a week after Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered self-quarantines for travelers from Louisiana and other parts of the country.

“Travelers will be asked to complete the travel form required under (Executive Order) GA-12,” a Texas DPS spokesperson said in a statement. “It’s important for those entering Texas from Louisiana to be prepared to stop.”

The screenings are related to the COVID-19 pandemic and drivers are urged to exercise caution and remain alert for traffic congestion when traveling west into Texas. The screening of vehicles applies to all roadways crossing into Texas including interstates.

Authorities in Louisiana have set up signs warning drivers about possible traffic congestion related to the checkpoints.

Abbott said the order does not apply to travel related to commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical infrastructure functions.

While normal travel is allowed on I-10 in southeast Texas and I-20 to the north, some crossings in east Texas are being closed to non-essential traffic. Law enforcement in Shelby and Sabine counties tell KLTV that a bridge across Toledo Bend Reservoir near Many, Louisiana, and another bridge near Joaquin, Texas, were only open to commercial vehicles and essential travelers.

There are approximately twenty highways and interstates that cross into the Lone Star State from Louisiana along its border, not including rural county and parish roads.

In addition to the ground travel restrictions, Abbott said anyone traveling to Texas by plane from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, all California airports and all Washington state airports are also required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Abbott previously announced anyone traveling to Texas on a plane from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Travelers from those areas will have to report their “quarantine location” in a form to DPS. Those who do not follow the guidelines of the order will be subject to a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail.

Read the Governor Abbott’s full executive order below.

The video above is from a previous story.

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