COVID-19 Update


COVID-19 Update

September 25, 2020 at 8:45 am: Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the area:

Henderson County: 954 cases; 763 recovered; 19 deaths

Athens: 374 cases; 6 deaths

Click on the links below for the most updated numbers.

Texas Health and Human Services

Northeast Texas Public Health District

* Disclaimer pertaining to the link provided: This dashboard will be updated daily by 12 Noon. Data displayed are current as of 8pm for the prior day.

Henderson County Press Releases can be found here.

City of Athens Press Releases can be found here.

September 17, 2020: Governor Abbott amended his executive order affecting the opening of Texas. The Governor’s face mask requirements, and physical distancing requirement remain in place.

May operate up to 75% capacity, effective September 21, 2020:

Protocol revisions related to food service, no changes to operating capacity, effective September 17, 2020:

Click HERE to view the entire executive order. To review revisions, click HERE to view protocols.

July 3, 2020:Effective at 12:01pm today, Governor Greg Abbott announced a new Executive Order requiring face coverings over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or which in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household. For exceptions to the executive order, review the document HERE.

June 26, 2020: Governor Abbott announced a suspension in the Open Texas plan. Every business establishment in Texas shall operate at no more than 50% capacity of the establishment; provided, however, that:

  1. There is no occupancy limit for the following: US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, religious services, local government operations, child care services, youth camps, and recreational sports programs for youth and adults. Click HERE to view emergency protocols for child care centers.
  2. Except as provided by number 5, this 50% occupancy limit does not apply to outdoor areas, events, or establishments, except that the following outdoor areas or outdoor venues shall operate at no more than 50% of the normal operating limits as determined by the owner: professional, collegiate, or similar sporting events, swimming pools, water parks, museums and libraries, zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities, and rodeos and equestrian events.
  3. The 50% occupancy limit does not apply to the following establishments that operate with at least 6 feet of social distancing between work stations: cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons/shops, massage establishments, and other personal-care and beauty services.
  4. Amusement parks shall operate at no more than 50% of the normal operating limits.
  5. For any outdoor gathering in excess of 100 people, other than those set forth above in paragraph numbers 1, 2, or 4, the gathering is prohibited unless the mayor of the city in which the gathering is held, or the county judge in the case of a gathering in an unincorporated area, approves of the gathering, and such approval can be made subject to certain conditions or restrictions not inconsistent with this executive order.
  6. For dine-in services by restaurants that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages, the occupancy limit shall remain at 75 percent until 12:01 a.m. on June 29, 2020, at which time such restaurants may only operate at up to 50 percent of the total listed occupancy of the restaurant.
  7. People shall not visit bars or similar establishments.
  8. People shall not use commercial rafting or tubing services.
  9. For any business establishment that is subject to a 50 percent “total listed occupancy” limit or “normal operating limit,” and that is in a county that has filed with DSHS, and is in compliance with, the requisite attestation form promulgated by DSHS regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, the business establishment may operate at up to 75 percent of the total listed occupancy.
  10. For purposes of this executive order, facilities with retractable roofs are considered indoor facilities, whether the roof is opened or closed.
  11. Staff members are not included in determining operating levels, except for manufacturing services and office workers.
  12. Except as provided in this executive order or in the minimum standard health protocols recommended by DSHS, people should not be in groups larger than ten and should maintain six feet of social distancing from those not in their group.
  13. People over the age of 65 are strongly encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.
  14. In providing or obtaining services, every person should use good-faith efforts and available resources to follow the minimum standard health protocols recommended by DSHS.
  15. Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings, but no jurisdiction can impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering.
  16. People shall not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
  17. For the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, public schools may resume operations for the summer as provided by, and under the minimum standard health protocols found in, guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Private schools and institutions of higher education are encouraged to establish similar standards.

Click HEREto view the entire executive order.

June 3, 2020: Governor Abbott announces phase 3 of the Open Texan plan. Effective immediately, all businesses that were able to operate at 25% capacity, can now increase to 50% capacity. The following places are now allowed to operate at 50% capacity: Fine Arts Performance Halls, Media Production, and video game facilities. In counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases, Amusement Parks may open at 50% capacity. Restaurants may increase their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.  Valet parking and outdoor events are now permissable as long as standard health protocols are followed.

Effective June 12, 2020: Restaurants may operate for dine-in service up to 75% capacity.

Effective June 19, 2020: Amusement parks with more than 1,000 confirmed postive cases may open at 50% capacity.

For more information on the restrictions for these businesses and organizations, go to Open Texas.

June 1, 2020: Athens City Hall, Partnership Center, and Development Services Center are now open during normal business hours.

May 18, 2020: Governor Abbott provided an update on his Open Texas plan. Gyms, non-essential manufacturing facilities, and office buildings are able to open at 25% capacity today. In addition, effective immediately, child care centers, massage and personal-care facilities, and youth clubs.

On May 22, at a 25% capacity, the following businesses will be allowed to open: bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcasting, skating rinks, rodeo/equestrian events, zoos, aquariums, and natural caverns. Restaurants will be allowed to open at 50% capacity for indoor spaces and there are no capacity limits for outdoor spaces.

On May 31, the following facilities will be able to open: day youth camps, overnight youth camps, professional sports (without in-person spectators), and youth sports.

For more information on the restrictions for these businesses and organizations, go to Open Texas.

May 13, 2020: Free mobile testing for COVID-19 in Henderson County has been announced for this Saturday, May 16. You must register and schedule a test on Friday, May 15. More information can be found here.

May 12, 2020:The Athens City Council amended the City’s Declaration of Public Disaster Due to Public Health Emergency Monday night. The City’s coronavirus rules are now completely aligned with Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders. This action effectively reopens parks and playgrounds in Athens. This action does not include the splash pad at Kiwanis Park. That will remain closed. Council members said the decision could be revisited if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases in the City. Residents are advised that social distancing rules are still in effect.

May 5, 2020: Governor Abbott announced, beginning May 8th, the allowance for cosmetology salons, tanning salons, and swimming pools to open at 25% capacity and must maintain social distancing guidelines. Wedding venues can open at 25% capacity for indoor spaces and no capacity restrictions on outdoors spaces but must comply with social distancing guidelines. On May 18th, the following businesses are allowed to open at 25% capacity: gyms, non-essential manufacturing facilities, and office buildings. For further information, review Executive Order No. GA-21 here.

May 1, 2020: The Athens Economic Development Corporation is always here to help support local businesses both big and small. During this recovery period from the COVID 19 health crisis the AEDC is looking forward to working with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to offer support and information regarding grants, loans and other COVID 19 related funding opportunities for our business community. The SBDC presented at the February AEDC Board meeting.

The AEDC and the Small Business Development Center, are housed at the Athens Partnership Center, 201 W. Corsicana Street. It can be a one stop shop for business assistance. The AEDC is looking forward to helping our local businesses manage through this difficult and unprecedented time.

Please see the information below if you have immediate questions:



National Restaurant

Office of the Governor

TX Dept of Agriculture

TX Dept. of Insurance

TX Workforce Solutions

April 30, 2020: Henderson County announced there will be drive thru COVID- 19 testing available to Henderson County residents Saturday, May 2, 2020 and Sunday, May 3, 2020 by appointment ONLY. To register and schedule for testing, call 512-883-2400 or onlineCLICK HERE. For more information, view the full documenthere.

Monday, April 27, 2020: Governor Abbott will allow the "Stay at Home" order to expire on April 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm. Also, effective May 1, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., Texas will begin to slowly reopen businesses. Many of the non-essential business can open and operate at 25% of their listed occupancy and must comply with regulations by the CDC. For question about the occupancy of your business, please contact our Development Services Department at 903-677-6615. The businesses that will be allowed to open include:

  • Retail services
  • Dine-In restaurants
  • Movie theaters
  • Shopping malls
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Golf Courses

People shall avoid visiting bars, gyms, public swimming pools, interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys and video arcades, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, or cosmetology salons.

Documents referenced in announcement:

GA-17 - relating to the establishment of the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas.

GA-18 - relating to the expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID- 19 disaster.

GA-19 - relating to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 disaster

GA- 20 - relating to expanding travel without restrictions as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.

Open Texas Report - complete with a check list for each business that can and wants to open.

Monday, April 27, 2020: The City of Athens Utility Billing Department can accept credit card and debit payments over the phone. Call 855-612-9049 to make your payment.

Thursday, April 23, 2020: Republic Services will resume yard waste and bulk pick-up on its regular scheduled day of Wednesday every week starting April 29, 2020.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020: Effective immediately, Republic Services has changed their schedule. Both trash and recycling will be collected on your scheduled trash collection day only.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020: Athens Municipal Court proceedings are postponed until May 14th. At this time defendants are able to enter a pleas and make payments via the City’s website or through the drive thru window at City Hall.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020:Henderson County Commissioners Court issued a new disaster declaration Tuesday, April 7, that includes a shelter at your place of residence order and accepts the Homeland Security list of essential businesses. View the Full Order with list of essential businesses and non-essential business provisions here. Video of today's Henderson County Commissioner's Court here.

The County's order includes a "locked door" provision for non-essential businesses.

This provisions reads: "Non-essential businesses with ten or fewer employees at one location can continue to conduct business so long as they do so with a locked front door with no public access to their business and they must maintain social distancing and CDC guidelines for all employees in the business."

Because of the County's order, the locked door provision goes into effect in Athens at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7.

To help our businesses understand if they qualify under the locked door provision, and to ensure the continued health of our community, the City of Athens is establishing a registration process for non-essential businesses. This registration is free and will help to minimize enforcement issues with the County’s order.

If you intend to continue conducting business in the City of Athens under the locked door provision, please contact or 903-677-6615.

You can download the registration form online here.

Thursday, April 2, 2020:The Athens City Council directed residents to shelter at their place of residence during a special meeting held at 3:30 today. The order is part of an Amended Declaration of Disaster Due to Public Health Emergency.

The declaration reads in part:

"All individuals currently living within the City of Athens are directed to shelter at their place 
of residence. For the purposes of this Order, residences include hotels, motels, shared rentals, 
and similar facilities. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must, at 
all times, as reasonably as possible maintain social distancing as specified by Center for Disease 
Control (CDC)."

The declaration officially incorporates the executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott (GA-14) into the City of Athens Emergency Plan.

In addition, The City will close all City Parks to group activities and the use of playground 
equipment will not be allowed. Walking paths and outdoor space will remain open with social 
distancing requirements as outlined by the CDC.

The complete Declaration can be read HERE. The Facebook Live video can be viewed HERE.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020: Watch this Public Service Announcement from Governor Abbott about Covid-19. HERE

Tuesday, March 31, 2020: Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The Governor’s Executive Order renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19.

The order:

- Defines "essential services" as everything listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.
- Keeps schools closed until at least May 4.
- Continues social distancing protocols in place throughout April.

“Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” said Governor Abbott. “Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve. As with all the actions the state is taking, the Essential Services and Activities Protocols is informed by the expertise and guidance of the CDC as well as state and local health officials. I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them. By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.” View the full Executive Order here. How to determine if you are an essential service, click here.

Guidance for Houses of Worship During the COVID-19 Crisis

Tuesday, March 31, 2020: The City of Athens and Henderson County hosted a Physicians Roundtable to discuss the current COVID-19 situation. Participants include Mayor Monte Montgomery, County Judge Wade McKinney, Dr. Douglas Curran, Dr. Michael Swartwood, Dr. Karah Coker, Dr. Ted Mettetal, County Attorney Clint Davis, and City Manager Elizabeth Borstad. View the video on our Facebook page HERE.

Sunday, March 29, 2020: Governor Abbott put into effect 2 executive orders and one proclamation.

--Order No. 1: Governor mandated a 14-day quarantine for road travelers arriving in Texas from any location in Louisiana. The self-quarantine procedure will mirror the process outlined in the Governor'sprevious Executive Order requiring mandatory self-quarantine for air travelers from the New York Tri-State Area and New Orleans, Louisiana. This mandated quarantine will not apply to travel related to commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical infrastructure functions. View the full Executive Order here

-- Order No. 2: Governor prohibited the release of individuals in custody for or with a history of offenses involving physical violence or the threat of physical violence. This Executive Order comes in response to concerns of the release or anticipated release of individuals because of COVID-19 who are deemed a danger to society. View the full Executive Order here

--Proclamation:The Governor also issued a proclamation regarding his prior Executive Order mandating a self-quarantine for individuals arriving from the New York Tri-State Area and New Orleans, Louisiana. View the full proclamation here. The Executive Order now includes air travelers arriving from the following states and cities:

  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Washington
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Miami, Florida

Monday, March 23, 2020:The Athens City Council extended the mayor's Declaration of Local Disaster Due to Public Health Emergencey until the council takes action to cancel it. Current and Full Declaration can be viewed at the bottom of the page.

Monday, March 23, 2020: Athens City Council postponed the upcoming council election until November 3, 2020 because of issues related to Covid-19

Thursday, March 19, 2020: Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The order is in effect until April 3, 2020.

In it he issued the following:

-- Order No. 1: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.

-- Order No. 2: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.

-- Order No. 3: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

-- Order No. 4: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.

Full Executive Order can be viewed at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, March 19, 2020: Mayor for the City of Athens signs a Declaration of Local Disaster due to Public Health Emergency.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020: The City of Athens has announced that they will be modifying their operations or closing some facilities until further notice because of health concerns from COVID-19. The City of Athens will continue to monitor the situations and will notify residents and visitors of any updates to these modified facility operations.

City Hall

The lobby at Athens City Hall will be closed until further notice beginning Wednesday, March 18, because of health concerns from COVID-19.

City employees will be on duty. If you have a question for the staff, please call 903-675-5131.

If you have a municipal court fine or water bill to pay, you can utilize the drive-thru or pay online at

Municiple Court will be cancelled until April 9, 2020

Water will not be shut off at this time and late penalties have been suspended on overdue bills.

Development Services Center (DSC)

The DSC lobby will remain open at this time. Public access will be restricted to the lobby only. If you have a question for the staff, please call 903-677-6615.

DSC is now able to take credit card payments to minimize handling money.

Trash Collection

Beginning March 31 recycling will not be taken to the recycling center. It will be taken to the landfill.

This change is being made for two reasons:

1. Refuse for recycling has to be handled by employees. By eliminating this it lowers the chance for the spread of COVID-19.

2. Because people are home more right now there has been an increase in the amount of refuse, so the recycling trucks are being used to pick up regular trash.

In addition, there will be no brush or bagged leaves picked up, or bulk pickup for the near future.

Residents are urged to continue their regular schedule of trash and recycling at this time for continuity's sake. Just be aware that recycling is being treated as regular trash for now.

Community Collection Site

The Community Collection Site located on Aaron St that is usually open on Saturdays will be closed until further notice.

Partnership Center (Economic Development Corporation/Athens Chamber/Keep Athens Beautiful)

The Partnership Center is closed until further notice but staff will be on duty. If you have a question, contact information is provided below.

Economic Development Corporation


Athens Chamber of Commerce


Keep Athens Beautiful


Athens Police Department

The Athens Police Department is limiting public access to the lobby only. Investigation and patrol operations will continue as normal. For those that have questions or would like to speak to an officer, please call 903-675-5454.

Athens Declaration of Local Disaster Due to Public Health Emergency

WHEREAS the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus, now designated COVID-19, as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020; and

WHEREAS, COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019; and

WHEREAS, symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe illness and cause further complications including death; and

WHEREAS, the COVID-19 virus mainly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes; and

WHEREAS, the continued worldwide spread of COVID-19 presents an imminent threat of widespread illness, which requires emergency action for the protection of the people of Athens, Texas; and

WHEREAS, the implementation of mitigation strategies can slow the transmission of the disease; and

WHEREAS, the Small Business Association (SBA) has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for the provision of Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities.

WHEREAS, this Declaration activates the City’s Emergency Management plan; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor of Athens, Texas has determined that extraordinary measures must be taken to mitigate the effects of this public health emergency and to facilitate the efficient, rapid, and cooperative response to the emergency;

THEREFORE, Be it Declared by the Mayor of Athens, Texas that;

A local state of disaster is hereby declared for Athens, Texas pursuant to §418.108(a) of the Texas Government Code.

This declaration of a local state of disaster shall be given prompt and general publicity and shall be filed promptly with the County Clerk, pursuant to §418.108 (c) of the Government Code.

The City of Athens Declaration Plan incorporates the Governor’s Executive Order GA-08 and any Orders issued by the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) pertaining to COVID-19 and all amendments or additional orders related thereto.

This declaration of a local state of disaster activates the City of Athens Emergency Plan.

Pursuant to Tex. Gov. Code §418.173, failure to comply with an emergency plan or with a rule, order, or ordinance adopted under the plan, including any executive order, proclamation, or regulation issued by the Governor during a state disaster or by the Mayor or City Council during a local disaster, is an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both fine and confinement.

This Declaration shall take effect immediately from and after its issuance and shall remain in effect until the City Council of the City of Athens takes additional action.

ORDERED this the 23rd day of March 2020.

Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Texas

Exec Order Gov 1
Exec Order Gov 2