AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – In an effort to continue social distancing practices, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the temporary closure of all state parks and historic sites during the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor made the announcement Tuesday morning as confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths continue to rise throughout Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission are being directed to make the closures.

The state parks and historical sites are expected to be closed starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will remain closed until further notice, the governor said.

“Social distancing is our best tool to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Abbott said. “The temporary closure of our state parks and historic sites will help us achieve this goal by preventing the gathering of large groups of people. I urge all Texans to continue to stay at home except for essential services as we respond to COVID-19. By following these social distance practices, we will overcome this challenge together.”

Abbott has continued to urge residents to stay in their homes unless they need to leave for essential activities such as grocery shopping or for health reasons.