NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Residents of Nacogdoches County and the City of Nacogdoches are now under a stay at home order.
The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders were issued separately but in a coordinated effort Sunday by Nacogdoches County Judge Greg Sowell and Nacogdoches Mayor Shelley Brophy.
They go into effect Monday, March 30 at noon.
“This comes in response to recommendations from local mediacl professionals after evidence of potential community spread and the county health official stating this effort is ‘medically necessary,” the statement announcing the orders said.
Under the orders, all individuals in Nacogdoches County “are to stay home, with exception, effective noon, March 30, 2020,” the statement says. Failure to comply is “punishable to a fee up to $10,000 or confinement in jail for up to 180 days.”
“I don’t take this decision lightly or without considerable forethought to how it will affect our community,” said Sowell. “We’re at the point where only stringent measures to maximize social distancing will combat the spread of this virus. We can not allow our hospitals and healthcare workers to be overwhelmed.”
Under the stay home, stay safe order, Nacogdoches leaders said they hope to preserve public health and safety and ensure the local healthcare system is capable of serving all.
“We encourage members of the public not to panic. The city has an emergency response plan in place, and we are following it closely,” said Brophy. “Essential city services will continue to be provided.”
Allowed activities are defined as:
- Activities related to maintaining the health and safety of their family, household members, and their pets. Examples are seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, and visiting a healthcare professional. This includes caring for a family member or pet in another household.
- Activities to obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves, their family and household, including groceries or food (such as from curbside or drive-thru pickup from restaurants), pet supplies and pet food, supplies needed to work from home and consumer products, and picking up materials for distance learning or school-provided meals.
- Outdoor activity, such as walking, running or cycling, but only if social distancing is upheld, such as staying six feet away from other people.
- Working for an exempted business or government that is providing essential services or products needed by the public during this crisis.
All public and private gatherings consisting of more than 10 individuals or anyone other than a person’s own household or family are prohibited.
The Mayor and Judge have also ordered all businesses to close and stop operations other than minimum basic operations such as allowing employees to work from home, maintaining security and maintenance of the business’ property, and facilitating information technology services that allow employees to work from home.
Businesses and organizations that are providing products and services that are needed by the community during this crisis are exempt. The followed exempt businesses may continue operating, provided they exercise proper social distancing:
- Healthcare operations, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare facilities and suppliers, home-based care and residential facilities for seniors and children, and veterinary care.
- Essential infrastructure including construction, water, sewer, gas, electrical, roads and solid waste collection and removal, internet, telecommunications systems, first responders, emergency management personnel, law enforcement, emergency dispatchers, animal shelters.
- Government functions as determined by the government entity to perform those functions provided social distancing requirements are met.
- Businesses related to food sales, delivery, and cultivation such as grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, food and good delivery operations, pet suppliers, liquor stores, farming, livestock, and fishing.
- Charitable organizations providing food, shelter and social services to economically disadvantaged or vulnerable populations, including animals.
- Businesses engaged in the sales, transporting, and licensing of firearms, knives, ammunition and gun supplies.
- News media, including newspapers, television, radio and other media outlets providing information to the public.
- Businesses related to transportation, including gas stations, repair shops, car dealerships, manufacturers, and recreational vehicle suppliers and sales.
- Financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions and title companies.
- Hardware and construction supply stores.
- Companies providing or maintaining services necessary to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, activities, and businesses, such as mail and shipping companies, laundromats, dry cleaners, building maintenance, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, janitorial and maintenance services, funeral industry, and professional services, such as legal or accounting services, insurance, and real estate services.
- Restaurants and food service offering drive-thru and pick-up services only.
- Businesses that supply products for people to work from home or business to operate.
- Public and private transportation services providing essential travel, such as buses, taxis, rideshare companies and the airport.
- Childcare services for exempted workers to perform essential activities and work.
- Religious services, provided services are distributed by video, teleconference or other remote measures.
The Nacogdoches Coronavirus Call Center is available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Concerned citizens can call 936-468-4787 for screening and scheduled testing.
The order is designed to stay in place until 11:59 p.m. on April 7 or until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended.