ORANGE COUNTY, Texas — Texas DPS is now doing checkpoints along the Louisiana border.
12News has confirmed that anyone traveling along I-10 from Louisiana is being asked to exit at the Texas Welcome Center. Commercial traffic, including semi trucks, are able to bypass the Welcome Center checkpoint.
Traffic was flowing pretty quickly as DPS talked to motorists and asked them questions about their travel plans.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott expanded an executive order that requires people traveling into Texas by road from Louisiana to self-quarantine. That order went into effect Monday, March 30th at noon.
Until Sunday, DPS had only increased patrols at the border. But Gov. Abbott said in a tweet Sunday, "Now, CHECKPOINTS at La.-TX border will be used to further reduce travelers from Louisiana potentially bringing #COVID19 into Texas."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott expanded in his executive order that people traveling into Texas by road from Louisiana would have to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“DPS Special Agents will conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance by confirming the physical presence of covered persons,” Gov. Abbott's executive order warns. “Any failure to comply with this order to self-quarantine shall be a criminal offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days.”
Louisiana State Police issued a traffic advisory Sunday morning warning of potential traffic congestion when traveling west into Texas from Louisiana.
The advisory says that checkpoints and screening of vehicles leaving Louisiana may result in "traffic backups" in westbound lanes of travel.
The advisory follows a Facebook warning from the Sabine County Sheriff's Office that the state border at Pendleton Bridge closed Sunday.
"Only essential personnel will be allowed through," the Facebook post read.
The Sabine Co. Sheriff's Office says they were notified about the border closing by Texas DPS.
In a reply to a comment about being able to cross the border before Sunday, the sheriff's office warned "it is going to change."
RELATED: Here's what anyone living or working in Louisiana needs to know before traveling back to Texas
When Gov. Abbott enacted his executive order, DPS said that workers who need to travel back and forth over the state border will need to get a letter from the state, according to the Texas Department of Emergency Management.
Companies will need to make the request by filling out the GA 11 and GA 12 travel exemption form found on texas.gov/covid19.
Anyone who does not follow the self-quarantine mandates will be subject to criminal penalties for violations. That's up to a 1,000 dollar fine or up to 180 days in jail, or both.
There are also restrictions for those flying into Texas from New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, California, Washington state, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Anyone flying from one of this COVID-19 hot spots must self-quarantine for 14 days.
RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott issues essential services-only order until April 30; schools to remain closed until May 4
***West Louisiana Traffic Advisory***
April 5, 2020
Beginning Sunday, April 5, 2020, motorists are urged to exercise caution and remain alert for traffic congestion when traveling west into Texas from Louisiana roadways.
Checkpoints and screening of vehicles leaving Louisiana related to the COVID-19 pandemic may result in traffic backups in westbound lanes of travel. The screening of vehicles applies to all roadways crossing the LA/TX border including interstates.
Commercial motor vehicle traffic will not be obstructed.
For information related to the Texas checkpoints and complying with the Executive Order, please call Texas DPS at (844) 986-1093 or visit https://gov.texas.gov/coronavirus and https://gov.texas.gov/…/EO-GA-12_roadway_quarantine_for_COV….
Further information can also be found at: https://www.facebook.com/269483096401621/posts/3598525753497322/
With regard to Louisiana roadways, traffic conditions can be found using the Louisiana Traveler Information System through several different methods including the 511 phone system, www.511la.org, Louisiana DOTD Twitter accounts, and the “Louisiana 511” smartphone application.
To report dangerous road conditions or reckless drivers, dial *LSP (*577) to be connected to the nearest LSP Troop.