Letter to Governor Abbott on Remote Work for non-essential personnel

Last updated: 3/25/2020

Dear Governor Abbott,

As you know, COVID-19 is a serious threat to the health and financial security of Texans. As coronavirus continues to spread across Texas and the nation, we must reduce the amount of cases to give our first responders and medical professionals more time to deal with the disease and not overwhelm their capacities. Experts have consistently warned that limiting our social exposure is the best way to combat the pandemic. 

Across the state, Texans are adjusting to telework and social distancing to avoid unnecessary contact that could spread this disease. 

We applaud you for the tough decision to close schools, bars, restaurants, gyms, nursing homes and limit gatherings to less than 10 people. These are some of the bold actions we need if we are to slow the rate of infection.

However, we are disappointed that, even with your recommendation that state agencies provide flexible and teleworking options for their employees, some state employees are being pressured to go into the office or field or take vacation time. 

Crises like these require leadership, and you have the opportunity to lead by example. You must send a strong message to the dedicated public servants, and the state more broadly, that everyone has to do their part to limit the worst of this virus’ spread. By requiring remote work, you can save lives. 

Every day of inaction matters.

A recommendation is not strong enough. No employee should have to choose between their job and public health.

Governor Abbott, we ask that you lead by example during these overwhelming times and require non-essential state employees to switch to telework.


Bay Scoggin, Director

Texas Public Interest Research Group

Mia Ibarra, Deputy Legislative and Policy Director

Center for Public Policy Priorities

Edward Espinoza, Executive Director

Progress Texas

Liz Wally, Executive Director

Clean Elections Texas

Deborah Fowler, Executive Director

Texas Appleseed

Adrian Shelley, Director, Texas Office

Public Citizen

Areana Quinones, Executive Director

Doctors for Change

Sarah Ortiz-Shields, Executive Director

Austin Tech Alliance

Dr. William Perkison, MD

Family Medicine and Occupational Medicine Physician

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