Hays County issues 'Stay at Home, Work Safe' order
Hays County issued a “Stay at Home, Work Safe” order on Wednesday, which mandates all county residents to stay at home at their place of residence. County residents may leave their residence to perform essential activities, perform essential business or perform essential government functions.
The stay-at-home order goes into effect Thursday at 11 p.m. and ends on April 10 at 4 a.m. The order features a curfew which spans from 11 p.m.-4 a.m. A person who “willfully disregards or conspires to willfully disregard” the order is subject to a fine of up to $500 for each violation.
The move to issue the order comes a day after County Judge Ruben Becerra said the county hoped to avoid taking such action during Tuesday’s commissioners court meeting. Becerra, however, issued a text alert late Tuesday night stating his intention to place the county under a stay-at-home order.
“(Wednesday), I will announce a stay in place for Hays County with an 11 p.m. curfew,” Becerra wrote. “We don’t have a choice. More than half of our cases have been confirmed community spread.”
Hays County announced two additional cases of COVID-19 within the county on Wednesday, bringing the total up to 11. There are now three confirmed coronavirus cases in Buda and Kyle, respectively. San Marcos and Dripping Springs have two cases each. There is one case in Austin within Hays County.
According to the stay-at-home order, the following are considered essential activities:
- i. To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (for example, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a healthcare professional, or obtaining supplies needed to work from home).
- ii. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others (for example, food, pet supplies, and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain safety, sanitization, and essential operation of residences).
- iii. To engage in outdoor recreational or fitness activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements of 6 feet (for example, walking, biking, hiking, or running).
- iv. To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or Essential Governmental Functions, or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this order.
- v. To care for a family member or pet in another household.
- vi. To perform or obtain services from an Essential Business, or from an Essential Government Function, as defined in this order.
- vii. To return home from or to another jurisdiction
The following are considered essential businesses: essential healthcare operations; essential critical infrastructure; grocery stores and other suppliers; food services; providers of basic necessities to the economically disadvantaged populations; essential services necessary to maintain essential operations of residences or other essential business; news media; childcare services; gas stations and businesses needed for transportation; financial institutions; critical trades; real estate services; mail and delivery services; certain educational activities; transportation; home-base car and services; residential facilities and shelters; professional services; information technology services/telecommunications services; moving services; hotels and motels; religious services; and funeral services.
Essential governmental functions include, “All services provided by local governments needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public shall continue,” according to the order.
Additionally, Wednesday’s mandate states that if a person is confirmed to have COVID-19, their entire household must be isolated in their home. Nursing homes, retirement and long-term care facilities are instructed to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or end-of-life visitation.