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Hunt County Under “Shelter In Place” Order

Although  Hunt County has no positive tests from the Coronavirs COVID-19, a “Shelter in Place” has been ordered. Residents must stay in their homes to work except to perform businesses and services that are considered essential. These jobs include workers in hospitals, pharmacies, essential critical infrastructure, grocery stores, warehouse stores, liquor stores, gas stations, businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, trash and recycling services, funeral homes, news media, and childcare services. Outdoor activity is allowed as long as people comply with social distancing requirements of six feet. All elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures must be canceled.

Official Commissioners Court Declaration


WHEREAS, beginning in December 2019, a novel coronavirus, now designated SARS-CoV2 which causes the disease COVID-19, has spread through the world and has now been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization; and
WHEREAS, a State of Disaster was declared by the Texas Governor on March 13, 2020;
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, President Trump acknowledged the gravity of the COVID-19
pandemic, releasing strict new guidelines to limit people’s interactions, including that Americans
should avoid groups of more than 10 people;
WHEREAS, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. In some
cases the virus has caused death;
WHEREAS, the Hunt County Commissioners Court declared a state of emergency on March 16, 2020, and County Judge Stovall issued an Order on that same day; and
WHEREAS, The virus that causes COVID-19 is easily transmitted through person to person contact, especially in group settings, and it is essential that the spread of the virus be slowed to protect the ability of public and private health care providers to handle the influx of new patients and safeguard public health and safety. Because of the risk of the rapid spread of the virus, and the need to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, this Resolution requires all individuals anywhere in Hunt County to shelter in place – that is, stay at home – except for
certain essential activities and work to provide essential business and government services or perform essential public infrastructure construction, including housing. This Order takes effect at 11:59 pm on March 24, 2020, and will continue through 11:59 pm on April 3, 2020, subject to the limited exceptions and under the terms and conditions more particularly set forth below;

THEREFORE, the March 16, 2020, Order of County Judge Stovall and the Commissioners Court Disaster Resolution is AMENDED as follows, pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 418.108:
1. That a local state of disaster for public health emergency is hereby declared for Hunt County, Texas, pursuant to section 418.108 (a) of the Texas Government Code, and the Hunt County Emergency Management Plan is hereby activated.
2. Effective as of 11:59 pm on March 24, 2020, and continuing until 11:59 pm on April 3, 2020:
(a) All individuals currently living within Hunt County are ordered to shelter at their place of residence. For the purposes of this Order, residences include hotels, motels, shared rentals, and similar facilities. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably as possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence. All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities, or to provide or perform Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses, all as defined in Section 2.
(b) All businesses operating within Hunt County, except Essential Businesses as defined below in Section 2, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the County. For clarity, businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e. working from home). To the greatest extent possible, all Essential Businesses shall comply with the Social Distancing Guidelines attached, including maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and the general public.
( c) All public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except as otherwise provided herein. Nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members of a
household or living unit.
(d) Restaurants with or without drive-in or drive-through services and microbreweries, micro-distilleries, or wineries may only provide take out, delivery, or drive-through services as allowed by law.
(e) Religious and worship services may only be provided by video and teleconference. Religious institutions must limit in-person staff to ten (10) people or less when preparing for or conducting video or teleconference services, and all individuals must follow the attached Social Distancing Guidelines including the six-foot social distancing, which are hereby adopted.
(f) All elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures are prohibited anywhere in Hunt County. Hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental offices, and other medical facilities are directed to identify procedures that are deemed “elective” by assessing which procedures can be postponed or canceled based on patient risk considering the emergency need for the redirection of resources to COVID-19 response.
3. Definitions:
a. For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following “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 health care
professional, or obtaining supplies need to work from home).
11. 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 supply, and any other household consumer products,
and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
ui. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals to comply with social distancing requirements of six feet (for example, walking, biking, hiking, or running).
1v. To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order.
v. To care for a family member or pet in another household.
b. For purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” means:
i. Essential Healthcare Operations. Healthcare operations, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, mental health
providers, substance abuse service providers, blood banks, medical research, laboratory services, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. Home-based and residential-based care for seniors, adults, or children is also considered healthcare operations. Healthcare operations also include veterinary care and all health and welfare services provided to animals. This exemption shall be viewed broadly to avoid any impacts on the delivery of healthcare. Healthcare operations do not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities. Healthcare operations do not include elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures as established in accordance with Subsection l(f) of this Order.
11. Essential Government Functions. 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.

Further, nothing in this order shall prohibit any individual from performing or accessing “Essential Government Functions.” All Essential Government Functions shall be performed in compliance with social distancing requirements of six feet, to the extent possible.
111. Essential Critical Infrastructure. Work necessary to the operations and maintenance of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors as identified by the National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) including
public works construction, residential and commercial construction, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal,
internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services),
financial institutions, defense and national security-related operations, essential manufacturing operations provided that they carry out those services or that work in compliance with social distancing requirements of
six feet, to the extent possible. Essential Businesses providing essential infrastructure should implement screening precautions to protect employees and all activity shall be performed in compliance with social distancing guidelines attached.
iv. Essential Retail. Foodservice providers, including grocery stores, warehouse stores, big-box stores, bodegas, liquor stores, gas stations and convenience stores, farmers’ markets that sell food products and household staples. Food cultivation, including farming, fishing, and livestock. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free services to students or members of the public on
a pick-up and take-away basis only. The restriction of delivery or carry out does not apply to cafes and restaurants located within the hospital and medical facilities. Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers. Gas stations, auto-supply, auto, and bicycle repair, hardware stores, and related facilities. Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home.
v. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.
vi. Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses. Trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal, mail and shipping services, building cleaning, maintenance and security, warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, storage for essential businesses, funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences and Essential Businesses. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities.
Businesses that supply other essential businesses with support or supplies needed to operate.
vii. News Media. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.
vni. Childcare Services. Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted.
4. Any manufacturer who retools so that a substantial part of their business is for the purpose of manufacturing and producing ventilators may apply for an “essential business” exemption under this Order.
5. Grocery stores, supermarkets, warehouse stores, hospitals, and medical facilities are experiencing high levels of demand for a large number of products, requiring more deliveries from manufacturers and distribution centers to serve their customers. A number of Texas cities and local associations have implemented restrictions on delivery
hours to stores to mitigate truck noise and traffic. Due to the need to deliver products as quickly and efficiently as possible during this critical timeframe, this Order hereby suspends all delivery hour restrictions for transport to or from any entity involved in the selling or distribution of food products, medicine, or medical supplies in Hunt County for the next 60 days.
6. Due to increased demand for bath or toilet tissue resulting from stock up buying and individuals who purchase for resale, a mandatory limit on toilet paper sales is instituted until the supply chain meets the demand or two weeks, whichever comes first. All sales of a bath or toilet tissue occurring in Hunt County are limited to the greater of: (a) twelve
(12) rolls per purchase or (b) one (1) package per purchase.
7. Due to the public health emergency, the Office of the Hunt County Judge hereby advises the Hunt County Justices of the Peace to suspend eviction hearings and writs of possession for at least the next 60 days to prevent renters from being displaced.
8. If someone in a household has tested positive for coronavirus, the household is ordered to isolate at home. Members of the household cannot go to work, school, or any other community function.
9. Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities are instructed by this order to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation.
10. Public and private schools and institutions of higher education are instructed by this order to provide a safety plan to Hunt County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 72 hours before students return to classroom settings.
11. Additionally, the Office of the Hunt County Judge instructs all employees to remain at home if sick. Employees of private businesses and nonprofits with six or more employees in Hunt County can use their paid sick leave when they are sick or care for sick family members.
12. This Order shall be effective until 11:59 pm on April 3, 2020, or until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law.
13. The County of Hunt must promptly provide copies of this Order by posting on the Hunt County website. In addition, the owner, manager, or operator of any facility that is likely to be impacted by this Order is strongly encouraged to post a copy of this Order on-site and to provide a copy to any member of the public asking for a copy. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to any person,
structure, gathering, or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision will not affect the validity of the remaining portions or applications of this Order.
14. Pursuant to section 418. 108 (c) of the Government Code, this declaration of a local state of disaster for public health emergency shall be given prompt and general publicity and shall be filed promptly with the County Clerk.
15. The County Commissioners also resolve to add the following language to the Hunt County Emergency Management Plan: “Failure to Comply with a Disaster Declaration:
Hunt County may enforce a penalty of a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days for failure to comply with a Disaster Declaration or a rule or an Order adopted as part of the Disaster Declaration and is punishable as authorized in government code 418 .1 73.”
16. This Resolution shall be in full force upon its passage and approval.