TDLR TAKES ACTION IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 THREAT

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TDLR Updates

Letter from DSHS Commissioner

Dear TDLR Licensee,

As we continue to navigate this pandemic, we want to thank you for your efforts to run your business while helping contain the spread of COVID-19. While we may all be different employers, we are one Texas.

A healthy Texas is the foundation of a healthy society and economy. I applaud your efforts to safeguard the health of employees and customers. Your actions keep individuals employed and contribute valuable services to our vibrant economy.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) created COVID-19 communication tools to help you operate your business safely. Tools include videos, social media graphics and animations, plus printable posters. You also have access to minimum recommended health protocols for safe operation. Materials are available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

The materials promote health safety practices. You can display posters in high-traffic areas such as entrances, lobbies, restrooms and break rooms. You can post social media content on your channels. You can also feature these messages in employee communication. And you can share these resources with others to use.

To access these materials, please visit the DSHS COVID-19 Communication Tools webpage.

As a responsible business leader, you can be a part of the solution. Let’s work together for a #HealthyTexas.

 

Signed,

John Hellerstedt, MD,

DSHS Commissioner 

P.S. We can stop the spread of COVID-19. But it has to be all of us — working together for a #HealthyTexas. Here are some simple steps we can all take to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer if no soap and water are available.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public and in large gatherings.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs and other high-touch surfaces.
  • Stay six feet apart from others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you’re sick, get tested, then stay home.

September 7, 2020

Governor Extends COVID-19 Disaster Declaration

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation extending his disaster declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the disaster declaration provides the state a variety of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

View the Governor's proclamation.

August 8, 2020

Governor Extends COVID-19 Disaster Declaration

Governor Greg Abbott today extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a variety of resources to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. Read the Governor's proclamation.

August 4, 2020

Internet Live Activity CME is Allowed for Podiatrists

The Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME), accrediting body for podiatric CME providers, has updated the CPME 720 - Standards and Requirements for Approval of Providers of Continuing Education in Podiatric Medicine (PDF), effective July 1, 2020.The CPME standards define Internet Live Activity as “an online continuing educational activity available at a certain time on a certain date and available only in real-time, just as if it were a continuing educational activity held in an auditorium. Once the event has taken place, learners may no longer participate in that activity.” Some examples of an internet live activity are a webinar, videoconference, or teleconference. CPME has also released guidance on COVID-19 for continuing education (PDF) in response to COVID-19 concerns regarding CME. Providers of CME, including all organizations listed in the Podiatry Continuing Medical Education Rules, can organize and present an internet live activity for CME credit. There are no limits on the amount of CME hours that can be obtained through internet live activity. Online courses that are not part of an internet live activity may be acceptable for CME self-study credit. Up to 20 hours of self-study CME may be counted towards the CME requirement.

TDLR is not waiving the requirements or extending the timeframe for obtaining CME at this time. However, the podiatry program rules provide for exceptions in cases of hardship as determined on an individual basis by the executive director. For more information please contact rpm.health.professions@tdlr.texas.gov.

July 27, 2020

Mold Training Providers May Offer Continuing Education Online

It has been a common practice for Mold Training Providers to hold continuing education courses in the same setting as initial training courses, which are typically held in person. With the limitations caused by COVID-19, Mold Training Providers may now offer continuing education courses online. Providers with questions should contact TDLR at: Education@tdlr.texas.gov

July 13, 2020

Continuing Education Requirements Suspended for Offender Education Provider Instructors

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TDLR is suspending the Instructor teaching and continuing education requirements for Offender Education Provider Instructors license renewals.

The following renewal requirements of 90.25 have been waived:

  • Drug Offender Education Program – teaching a minimum of 4 classes and attending at least one department-sponsored continuing education seminar.
  • Alcohol Education Program for Minors – teaching a minimum of 4 classes and attending at least one department-sponsored continuing education seminar.
  • DWI Education Program – teaching a minimum of 4 classes and attending at least one department-sponsored continuing education seminar.
  • DWI Intervention Program – teaching a minimum of 2 classes and attending at least one department-sponsored continuing education seminar.

License renewals for OEP Instructors who meet all other requirements will be approved. This suspension is in effect until terminated by TDLR’s Executive Director.

July 10, 2020

Governor Adds Counties to Executive Order Limiting Medical Procedures

Governor Greg Abbott has amended Executive Order GA-27 to include all counties within 11 Trauma Service Areas (TSAs), effective at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 10, 2020. Read the amendments to the order (PDF).

The order requires hospitals in those counties in the 11 TSAs to postpone surgeries and procedures which are not medically necessary. This was done to reduce strain on hospital capacity in response to increasing hospitalizations for COVID-19 in these counties.

The Governor’s COVID-19 executive orders, disaster declarations, and waivers can be found here.

July 8, 2020

Combative Sports Paused In Texas

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has paused all combative sports events in Texas until further notice. TDLR will continue to evaluate the situation in Texas regarding COVID-19 infection rates but there is no set date at this time for the return of combative sports events in the state. This decision is based on ensuring that protecting the health and safety of all Texans, the combative sports community, general public, ringside officials, combatants and TDLR staff is our agency’s top priority.

July 3, 2020

Relating to the Use of Face Coverings During the COVID-19 Disaster

In conjunction with Gov. Greg Abbott’s July 2nd Executive Order (GA-29), the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas has revised the guidelines for certain businesses.

Effective July 3, 2020 at 12:01 p.m., all employees and customers must wear a face covering (over the nose and mouth) while inside a barber shop, cosmetology salon, nail salon, or massage establishment. Face masks or fabric face coverings must be worn at all times by employers, employees, contractors, and clients while inside the salon/shop, even if individuals are practicing social distancing. Face coverings can be removed temporarily only when necessary to receive a service.

In addition, all driving school employees and customers must wear a face covering (over the nose and mouth) wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another individual not in the same household.

Please see Executive Order GA-29 for more details, including a list of exceptions to the order. Below are the revised guidelines created by the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas:

Barber Shop Customers
Barber Shop Owners and Operators
Cosmetology/Hair Salon Customers
Cosmetology Salon Owners and Operators
Nail Salon Customers
Nail Salon Owners and Operators
Driving Schools
Massage and Personal-Care, Beauty Service Customers
Massage and Personal-Care, Beauty Services Owners and Operators

June 12, 2020

Professional Combative Sports May Return To Texas

Professional Combative Sports may now return to Texas, according to the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas. TDLR will approve a limited number of events, depending on available staff resources. Promoters interested in holding a boxing or MMA event should contact the TDLR Combative Sports program to determine whether a particular date is available.

June 9, 2020

TDLR Resumes Some Safety Inspections and Enforcement Investigations Wednesday

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) will resume a limited number of on-the-ground safety inspections and enforcement investigations beginning Wednesday, June 10, 2020. All agency employees will continue to observe practices that limit the spread of COVID-19.

TDLR employees will:

  • identify themselves and show their TDLR-issued ID;
  • make all reasonable efforts to practice social distancing;
  • wear masks during all inspections or investigations;
  • limit the distribution of paper forms or postings; and
  • disinfect any equipment they use before entering and after leaving a facility or place of business.

TDLR employees will not:

  • ask any member of the public to remove their mask at any time;
  • require a signature on any document.

These temporary measures will be adjusted as needed based on guidance from state public health officials.

For more information on how TDLR is responding to COVID-19, visit the agency’s COVID-19 webpage.

June 5, 2020

Offender Education Programs May Operate at 50% of Occupancy

On June 3, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott announced the third phase of the State of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19. Offender Education Programs may now operate up to 50% of their total listed occupancy for classroom instruction. Offender Education Providers and Administrators must ensure at least 6 feet social distancing between students and instructors.

All Offender Education Programs should follow the revised minimum recommended health protocols (PDF) established by the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas.

June 4, 2020

Driving Education Schools May Reopen Classroom Instruction Up to 50%

On June 3, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott announced the third phase of the State of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19.

Under Executive Order GA-26, driving schools may now operate up to 50% of their total listed occupancy for classroom instruction. Driving schools must ensure at least 6 feet social distancing between students and instructors, except when receiving in-car instructions or participating in a DPS road test.

All driving schools should follow the revised minimum recommended health protocols established by the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas.

May 27, 2020

Barber and Cosmetology Practical Exams to Resume June 1

While Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-23 expands the re-opening of businesses throughout Texas, TDLR has worked with our exam vendor, PSI, to resume practical examinations for the barber and cosmetology industries. All exam sites have adjusted schedules and reduced capacity in accordance with CDC and state social distancing guidelines. Additionally, TDLR has reviewed and approved PSI’s health protocols to ensure they meet all state guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Under these restrictions, TDLR will resume barber and cosmetology practical exam delivery at all 8 PSI sites across Texas starting Monday, June 1, 2020.

Please visit PSI’s COVID-19 page for more information on rescheduling.

COVID-19: Elevator, Boiler Inspection Requirements Temporarily Suspended

To help combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, TDLR requested and received authority from Governor Greg Abbott to suspend certain regulatory requirements statewide, to the extent necessary to extend inspection time requirements for elevators and boilers:

  • Inspection requirements are suspended temporarily for elevators with permits that expire in March, April, May, and June 2020. TDLR investigators will respond in case of an accident or emergency. (§754.019, Health and Safety Code)
  • A boiler Certificate of Operation that expires in the time period from March 13, 2020 through June 30, 2020, shall NOT receive any penalty for failing to obtain an inspection before the Certificate of Operation expires. TDLR investigators will respond in case of an accident or emergency.
  • All boiler owners who request an extension of the internal inspection interval will maintain eligibility for an extension even if the required inspections have not been performed. This policy will be applied to all boiler extensions for which the Certificate of Operation expires during the time period of March 13, 2020 through June 30, 2020. (§755.025 and §755.026, Health and Safety Code)
  • Extending by 60 days all building inspection deadlines in the Elimination of Architectural Barriers Program for any inspections due in March, April, May, and June in case any of those buildings need to be used immediately as part of COVID-19 response. (§469.105, Government Code)

TDLR Waives Continuing Education, Other Requirements

TDLR continuing education requirements are waived for all individual licenses expiring in March, April, May, and June 2020. Licensees still need to submit their renewal applications, pay the required fees, and TDLR will check their criminal histories, but they will not need to complete any TDLR-required continuing education this licensing cycle. (§51.405, Occupations Code)

Note: TDLR is not authorized to waive continuing education requirements imposed by a certifying or credentialing entity other than TDLR. If a certifying entity requires continuing education to maintain certification, and certification is required for Texas licensure, then that continuing education must be completed. If the certifying entity waives continuing education or allows it to be completed on a delayed basis due to COVID-19, then you may follow the certifying entity’s policy.

May 26, 2020

Governor Issues Proclamation Reopening Driver Training Schools

Today, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation expanding Executive Order GA-23 to allow all driver training schools in Texas to reopen immediately. You can read the proclamation here.

Before reopening, driver training schools should review the minimum standard health protocols created by the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas

These protocols provide that schools may operate up to 25% of their total listed occupancy for classroom instruction.

For questions about reopening, schools can contact DES@tdlr.texas.gov.

May 22, 2020

PPE Resources Available for Small Businesses

  • Bexar County has launched the “COVID -19 Essential Items Bag” program to support small businesses in the transition to “moderate risk” COVID-19 protocols. The program provides a free, one-week supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to sole proprietors and businesses with less than 25 employees located in the suburban cities and unincorporated areas of the county.
  • Fort Worth businesses are joining together to distribute PPE through the Protect the Fort program. Sign up for the program (wait list)

TDLR will share more information about PPE available to small businesses around the state as we find additional resources. Please continue to check this page for updates.

May 21, 2020

Clarification on Temporary Distance Education

The Governor’s Executive Order dated May 5, 2020, allowed Barber and Cosmetology schools and Massage schools to reopen on May 18, 2020. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) understands there are still concerns as plans are made to open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19, including temporary restrictions to ensure continued social distancing as our communities resume normal activities in a safe manner.

Due to these concerns, schools can continue to utilize temporary distance learning and virtual learning to complete all technical standards for the theory and practical portion of a course. This allows schools to determine when they can safely transition students back into their traditional brick and mortar classrooms. TDLR’s goal is to enable schools to continue to teach their students despite the current circumstances related to COVID-19.

TDLR’s temporary provisions are in line with the U.S. Department of Education and provide flexibility to schools to help students complete their course work while effectively developing the job skills and knowledge to obtain a license in Texas. However, remote practical instruction does not include internship or apprenticeship instructional hours.

Schools engaging in the delivery of distance education with remote instruction must ensure that all hours are properly accounted for each student engaged in the remote theory and practical hours of instruction, including record of attendance and time clock records. Additionally, schools must ensure the identity of the distance-learning student, the student/instructor ratio limitation, and the student’s ability to be equipped with the proper tools to effectively demonstrate the practical applications. Schools must maintain compliance with all statutory requirements.

Schools should notify TDLR when the school resumes all regular, traditional on-campus classes or activities and ceases temporary distance education. Notice should be provided by email at Education@tdlr.texas.gov

These provisions will remain in place until further notice.

May 20, 2020

Written Exams To Resume May 22

While Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-23 expands the re-opening of businesses throughout May, TDLR has worked with our exam vendor, PSI, to resume written examinations for the industries TDLR regulates. All exam sites have adjusted schedules and reduced capacity in accordance with CDC and state social distancing guidelines. Additionally, TDLR has reviewed and approved PSI’s health protocols to ensure they meet all state guidelines regarding COVID-19. Under these restrictions, TDLR will resume written exam delivery at all 22 PSI sites across Texas starting Friday, May 22, 2020. See PSI’s COVID-19 page for more information on rescheduling.

May 18, 2020

Notice to Auction Schools

In light of current health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) will recognize courses from licensed Auction Schools taught via distance learning to satisfy the licensing requirements in 67.20. Schools using technologies such as videos, electronic learning, virtual learning, and other practices to deliver the school’s curriculum shall ensure participants are receiving the 80-hour course needed to develop the job skills and knowledge necessary to obtain an auctioneer’s license in Texas.

Schools must properly account for the hours that each participant is engaged in remote auction courses. Schools must also confirm the identity of their students who are using distance learning and should make sure that students are equipped with the proper tools to effectively complete the course.

May 13, 2020

Late TDLR License Renewal Fees Waived

In accordance with section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code, the Office of the Governor grants TDLR’s request to suspend Tex. Occ. Code 51.401, as well as any corresponding rules promulgated in accordance with that authority, to the extent necessary to waive late license renewal fees that accrued between March 13, 2020 and June 15, 2020.

This suspension is in effect through June 15, 2020, unless extended, modified, or terminated earlier by the Office of the Governor.

May 12, 2020

Further Clarification of Massage Therapy Services Allowed

Under the Governor’s Executive Order GA-21 (GA-21), massage establishments must remain closed until further notice. GA-21 also prohibits people from providing services which are not designated as essential or re-opened, including massage therapy.

GA-21 designates healthcare providers, including physicians and chiropractors, as essential. It does not include massage therapists, unless they are providing services determined to be medically necessary by a physician, chiropractor, or other healthcare provider. Massage therapy that is not medically necessary is still not allowed. If a licensed massage therapist performs a medically necessary massage, they must do so in accordance with the massage therapy laws and rules, including the requirement of a consultation document. A medically necessary massage may be performed in the office of a physician or chiropractor or any other place that is exempt from the requirement for a massage establishment license under Texas Occupations Code §455.155.

Please note that GA-21 overrides conflicting local orders, and the ability to provide massage therapy may change as further orders are issued.

May 11, 2020

TDLR Recognizes CPR Grace Periods for Midwives

For licensed midwives, TDLR will recognize any grace period recommended in response to the COVID-19 crisis by an entity providing certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or neonatal resuscitation.

May 8, 2020

Clarification on Continuation of Telehealth Services for the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Program

TDLR’s statute and rule suspensions, which allow speech-language pathology (SLP) interns and SLP assistants to provide services and receive supervision through telehealth, were approved pursuant to Governor Abbott’s Disaster Declaration, which was issued on March 13, 2020. (See TDLR announcement on April 9, 2020, regarding the granted suspensions). These suspensions continue in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor.

The suspension of the TDLR rules to allow SLP interns and SLP assistants to provide telehealth services is separate from the HHSC/Medicaid requirements regarding reimbursement for telehealth services. Please continue to confirm reimbursement policies with the billing entities you are working with. Eligibility for reimbursement does not affect a licensee’s ability to provide services through telehealth.

If you have not already done so, please sign up for email notices from TDLR regarding the Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists program and any COVID-19 updates. TDLR will notify its email subscribers when any granted suspensions will be coming to an end, and will post a notice to the TDLR COVID-19 webpage.

May 6, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Required Grades for a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant License

The COVID-19 pandemic caused universities to close their campuses and switch to online classes and led many universities to adopt a pass/fail grading policy for the 2020 spring semester.

Current Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists program rules, 16 TAC §111.50(a)(2) and §111.50(b)(1)(A), require applicants for a speech-language pathology assistant license to have earned at least 24 semester hours in speech-language pathology and/or audiology with a grade of “C” or better.

For the spring 2020 semester only, TDLR will accept a "passing" grade as meeting the requirement of a grade of "C" or better for undergraduate students applying for a speech-language pathology assistant license.

The number and type of required semester credit hours will remain the same: 18 of the 24 semester credit hours must be in speech-language pathology, with at least three (3) credit hours in language disorders and at least three (3) credit hours in speech disorders. The 24 semester credit hours exclude course work such as special education, deaf education, or sign language. The 24 semester credit hours must be academic course work and excludes any clinical experience.

Updates to Governor's Executive Order to Expand Openings of Certain Businesses and Activities

Under the Executive Order to Expand Openings of Certain Businesses and Activities issued by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 5, cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons/shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade may reopen on May 8 and must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations.

This Executive Order overrides any local orders prohibiting these businesses from opening.

May 1, 2020

Attorney General Issues Guidance Re: Barbershop, Cosmetology Salon, Nail Salon, Esthetician Salon, Massage Establishment and Laser Hair Establishments Closures

Yesterday, the Texas Attorney General's Office released a guidance letter to address questions relating to Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-18. Barbershops, cosmetology salons (including nail and esthetician), massage establishments, and laser hair establishments must remain closed until further notice. The Governor's order overrides conflicting local and county orders.

TDLR may take additional measures to protect its staff, licensees, and consumers as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. TDLR will continue to update this page with information related to the COVID-19 outbreak.