County implements curfew amid growing COVID-19 cases

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Jaden Edison

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra declared a state of disaster for COVID-19 in the county, Sunday, March 15, 2020, at the Hays County Historic Courthouse in San Marcos. Residents concerned they may be exhibiting symptoms are instructed to call the Hays County Coronavirus Hotline at 512-393-5525 from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Chase Rogers, News Editor

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra issued a “stay home, work safe” order for the county on Wednesday, effective Thursday, March 26 at 11 p.m. through April 10, to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The order comes while growing confirmed COVID-19 cases have drawn concern locally and state-wide. Hays County has reported 11 confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

Travis and Williamson counties issued similar orders Wednesday asking residents to stay at home to lessen the chance of further spread.

Additions to the order include; guidelines for quarantining, asking an entire household to isolate at home if someone in the household tests positive for COVID-19; a county-wide curfew, stating citizens should remain at their residential properties between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m unless performing an essential task; exceptions for homeless individuals so long as they maintain social distancing standards; and guidelines for visitation of elder care facilities, where nursing homes, retirement and long-term care facilities prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide “critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation”.

Additionally, all public or private gatherings of any number of people outside a single household or living unit are prohibited.

Curfew guidelines state the following:

“Unless conducting or traveling to or from an essential activity, work at an essential business, or work at an essential governmental function, members of the public shall remain at their residential properties between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.”

The order declares all individuals living within the county are to stay at home at their place of residence, excluding essential travel and the activities of businesses deemed essential.

Essential activities include:

1. Tasks essential to one’s health and safety

– Includes obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional and obtaining supplies needed to work from home.

2. Obtaining necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family, including tasks to deliver those services or supplies to others

– Includes trips to obtain food, pet supplies, household consumer products and products necessary to maintain safety and sanitization.

3. Outdoor recreational or fitness activity

– Provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements of six feet, residents are able to maintain fitness activities, including walking, biking, hiking or running.

4. To perform work providing essential products and services at a business deemed essential or essential governmental functions

– Essential businesses include essential healthcare operations, essential critical infrastructure, grocery stores, food services, providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, news media, childcare services, gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, financial institutions, real estate services, mail and delivery services, moving services, funeral services, religious services, hotels and motels, professional services and home-based care services.

5. To return home from or to another jurisdiction

– Individuals traveling home to other jurisdictions are allowed to do so.

The county provided social distancing guidelines with the order, shown below.

List of best practices.
Provided by Hays County.

The order can be read in its entirety here.

Individuals concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or the Hays County Local Health Department at 512.393.5520. For additional information about COVID-19, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services or the Centers for Disease Control website.

The University Star’s COVID-19 coverage can be found here.


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