Coronavirus (COVID 19) Helpful Information

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Buda City Hall and Public Safety Building
Open to Public With Limited Capacity
Starting Monday, May 18  

BUDA, TX — May 11, 2020 - On Monday, May 18 Buda City Hall and the Public Safety Building will open to the public with limited capacity. It is strongly recommended that visitors wear masks. Social distancing practices will be in place. Phone and online methods of communication are still encouraged.

Buda City Hall and Public Safety Building  

  • Visitors are highly encouraged to wear masks.
  • Phone and online methods of communications are still encouraged.
  • City-sponsored meetings resume with strict social distancing practices in place. Room capacity limited to 25% for City Council and Boards and Commissions meetings.
  • No rental of public spaces.
  • Daily disinfection cleaning.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Buda Public Library

Visitor Center (Stagecoach House)

  • Remains Closed to the Public.
  • Please call the Visitor’s Center with questions at 512-295-7170.

City of Buda Employees are following strict social distancing practices and will be wearing masks or face coverings to provide protection for co-workers and the public.  

As mentioned earlier, phone and online communications are still encouraged.

You can contact City Departments directly at the numbers below:

Public Works (512-312-2876)

Buda Police Department - Non-Emergency (512-393-7896)

Parks (512-523-1083)

Utility Billing (512-295-8845)

Municipal Court (512-295-2562)

Library (512-295-5899)

Planning, Permitting, and Engineering (512-312-5745)

Visitor’s Center (512-295-7170)

Utility billing and municipal court payments may be paid online here: https://www.municipalonlinepayments.com/budatx. Additional ways to make utility payments include online through your bank, over the phone at 512-295-8845, and by mail to 405 E. Loop St., Building 100, Buda, Texas. Customers can also utilize the utility payment drop boxes at the front entrance of the building and near the library book drop. The utility billing e-mail that residents should use to communicate with utilities is utilitybilling@ci.buda.tx.us

Additional online resources:

Permitting and Inspections: https://www.mygovernmentonline.org/

Licenses, Permits and Fees: http://ci.buda.tx.us/297/Applications-Licenses-Permits-Fees

You can view City Council meetings online here:
https://www.ci.buda.tx.us/390/Council-Board-Commission-Meetings---VIEW

For more information on Buda Library Services:

Buda Public Library Electronic Resources: https://buda.biblionix.com/catalog/

Buda Public Library: www.budalibrary.org

Governor Abbott Announces Phase Two of Open Texas Plan

Governor Abbott has announced Phase Two of his Open Texas plan. This includes bars, bowling alleys, beauty services, child care services, youth clubs, and more. Below are some highlights from today’s announcement. For the full list and additional information on safety protocols that must be taken, please visit: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.

May 18 - New, Now in Effect

  • Child Care Centers may open with safety precautions in place.
  • Massage and Personal-Care, Beauty Services may open with safety precautions in place.
  • Youth Clubs, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, FFA, etc., may open with safety precautions in place.

May 22 Openings

  • Bars or similar establishments may open at 25% occupancy.
  • Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcasting, and Skating Rinks may open at 25% occupancy.
  • Rodeo/Equestrian Events: Spectators limited to no more than 25% of normal operating limits. Outdoor venues may operate at up to 25% of normal operating limits.
  • Zoos, Aquarium, Natural Caverns, and similar facilities may operate at 25% occupancy.
  • Restaurants will be able to reopen at 50% capacity instead of 25%.

May 31 Openings

  • Day Youth Camp Operators may open with safety precautions in place.
  • Overnight Youth Camp Operators may open with safety precautions in place.
  • Professional basketball, baseball, car racing, football, golf, softball, and tennis leagues may apply to the Department of State Health Services for approval to hold professional sporting events in Texas. Spectators may not be physically present on premises.

June 1

  • Schools will be able to offer summer school as soon as June 1, as long as safe social distancing practices are in place.

Governor Abbott added that the state has significantly boosted capabilities to respond to COVID-19. In the first half of May, Texas more than doubled the number of COVID-19 tests given in March and April combined. More than 25,000 tests are being administered per day with 600 testing sites in place. Texas has also distributed more than one-million face masks per day.



Governor Abbott Expands Business Openings In Texas, Announces Surge Response Teams To Combat COVID-19

Issues Guidance For Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremonies 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference where announced that he will be issuing an Executive Order to expand openings of certain businesses and activities. The Governor also announced new guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on graduation ceremonies and the creation of Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare ups in Texas.

"Texas is in a position to continue opening parts of our economy because of the efforts and determination of the people of Texas," said Governor Abbott. "Over the past month, Texans have worked together to contain the spread of COVID-19 by following social distancing practices and staying at home whenever possible. As we move forward, I urge all Texans to continue following these social distancing guidelines and the health standards we have provided. With every Texan doing their part, we will contain COVID-19, we will unleash our entrepreneurs, and we will make it through this challenge together."

The Governor was joined for the press conference by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) Acting Executive Commissioner Phil Wilson, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, and Adjutant General of Texas Maj. Gen. Tracey Norris.

Per the Governor’s announcement, wedding venues and services required to conduct weddings may immediately open. Weddings held indoors other than at a church, congregation, or house of worship must limit occupancy to 25%. Wedding reception services may also resume, but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25% of the total listed occupancy. These occupancy limits do not apply to the outdoor areas of a wedding reception or to outdoor wedding receptions.

Beginning May 8, cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade, may open, but all such salons, shops, and establishments must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations. Tanning salons may also reopen under the same limitation. Also starting May 8, swimming pools may open subject to certain limitations, including on their occupancy or operating levels.

Beginning May 18, office buildings may open with the greater of five or less individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. These individuals must maintain appropriate social distancing. Gyms, exercise facilities, and exercise classes may also open on May 18, but must operate at 25% occupancy. Locker rooms and shower facilities will remain closed, but restrooms may open. Non-essential manufacturing services may also open on May 18 but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25%.

These newly opened services are subject to recommended minimum standard health protocols outlined by DSHS. These protocols will be available on the Open Texas webpage.

During the press conference, Chief Kidd and Commissioner Wilson provided details on the newly formed Surge Response Teams. These teams are led by TDEM and HHSC and include representatives from the the Texas Military Department, DSHS, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force, and BCFS Health and Human Services. Surge Response Teams will serve nursing homes, prisons, packing pants, and other facilities that experience flare ups of COVID-19 by providing personal protective equipment, testing supplies, onsite staffing, and assessment assistance. These teams will also work with local officials to establish health and social distancing standards to contain these flare ups. Several Surge Response Teams have already been deployed to locations across the state. Chief Kidd and Commissioner Wilson’s presentation is available here.

TEA Commissioner Morath also provided new guidance on class of 2020 graduation ceremonies for Texas school districts. The TEA is providing four different pathways for schools to celebrate their graduating seniors, and each district is at liberty to determine if any of these options best serve the needs and desires of their community:

  • Completely virtual ceremonies that take place entirely online, with the use of videoconference or other technologies.
  • Hybrid ceremonies, which consist of a compilation of videos of students being recognized in person as they celebrate graduation in small groups.
  • Vehicle ceremonies, in which students and their families wait in their cars while other graduates are recognized one at time with their families alongside them.
  • Outdoor in-person ceremonies, which are currently permitted for counties as follows:

    • Between May 15 and May 31, an outdoor ceremony may take place in a rural county that has an attestation as described in the Governor’s Report to Open Texas that remains in effect 7 days prior to the ceremony.
    • An outdoor ceremony may take place in any Texas county on or after June 1.

 Full details of the TEA’s graduation ceremony guidance can be found on the TEA website.

Governor Abbott Modifies COVID-19 Executive Orders To Eliminate Confinement As A Punishment

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today modified his executive orders related to COVID-19 to eliminate confinement as a punishment for violating these orders. These modifications are being applied retroactively.

“Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” said Governor Abbott. “That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order. This order is retroactive to April 2nd, supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther. It may also ensure that other Texans like Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata who were arrested in Laredo, should not be subject to confinement. As some county judges advocate for releasing hardened criminals from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is absurd to have these business owners take their place.”

County Hosting Two Free COVID-19 Testing Sites on May 10 

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Through a partnership with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Texas Army National Guard, two free COVID-19 testing locations will be available in Hays County on May 10. One location will be in Wimberley, the other in Dripping Springs. Testing at both sites will take place that day from  8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and an appointment is required. 

Based on the protocols for this program, specific site locations will be shared with those who register, go through a health screening and receive an appointment. Individuals will need to be screened in advance and can only be tested if they receive an appointment.  

On May 9, 24 hours prior to the test sites opening, the county will provide the website and call number for registration. 

“We are pleased to bring free COVID-19 testing to our residents,” Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said. “We have been working diligently to expand testing overall in the County. We chose these sites in Wimberley and Dripping Springs to ensure residents in those areas have the opportunity to be tested.” 

According to Hays County Local Health Department Epidemiologist Eric Schneider, preregistrations begins May 9 and individuals will go through a health screening. 

“The health screening will check for symptoms, including fever/chills, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and nasal congestion,” he said. 

Hays County News May 5, 2020 

The sites were selected following discussion among Hays County Commissioners during last Tuesday’s meeting. Commissioner Walt Smith, Pct. 4, said indigent and uninsured residents on the western side of the county can utilize this option. 

“We have been able to coordinate testing sites up and down the I-35 corridor, in Buda, Kyle and San Marcos,” he said. “The one-day testing sites in Dripping Springs and Wimberley will fulfill a need that hasn’t previously been available.” 

Testing at the two sites will be conducted by the Texas Army National Guard. 

“Governor Abbott authorized the use of the Texas National Guard troops for this testing, which is occurring at locations around the state,” said Tammy Crumley, Director of Countywide Services for Hays County. “We don’t want anyone to be alarmed at seeing uniformed military personnel in their city.” 

On May 9, Hays County will provide the website and phone number for registration. That information will be available on the County’s website, along with Facebook and Twitter, beginning at 8 a.m. May 9. 

Epidemiologist Eric Schneider reminded everyone that these testing sites are not for the general public and that individuals must have an appointment. 

“Hays County does not have any drive-up/drive-thru testing sites,” he said.  

A list of COVID-19 testing sites in other parts of Hays County, all of which require a health screening and an appointment, are on the county’s official website. 

Hays County Website: https://hayscountytx.com/ 

Follow us at: 

www.twitter.com/hayscountygov 

www.facebook.com/hayscountytexas 

Countywide Emergency Info: www.haysinformed.com

Below is a list of medical facilities in Hays County where testing for COVID-19 is taking place. Please note that all testing is based on the recommendation of a physician during a health screening. These are not drive-up/drive-thru testing sites.

If you are a patient at one of the facilities listed below, your physician will be able to assist you with a health screening and may recommend a COVID-19 test based on that assessment.

To receive a health screening, please contact your primary care physician or call the Hays County COVID-19 Hotline at 512.393.5525 between 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (closed from 12-1 p.m.) Monday through Friday. Spanish speakers will be available.

Hays County Sites for COVID-19 Testing (by appointment only)

Austin Regional Clinic – Buda
3420 FM 967, Suite B-100
Buda, Texas 78610
512.295.1608
Note: Teledoc patients may be referred to Kyle clinic for test

Austin Regional Clinic – Dripping Springs
27600 Ranch Road 12, Building 1
Dripping Spring, Texas 78620
512.829.9118

Austin Regional Clinic – Kyle
4100 Everett Street, Suite 400
Kyle, Texas 78640
512.295.1333

Care Now Urgent Care
301 N. Guadalupe, Suite 144
San Marcos, Texas 78666
512.960.2545

Live Oak Partners Community Clinic
401 Broadway
San Marcos, Texas 78666
512.805.5650

Live Oak Walk-In
1320 Wonder World Drive, #101
San Marcos, Texas 78666
512.396.3911

MedPost Urgent Care
155 Wonder World Drive
San Marcos, Texas 78666
512.738.8334

My Emergency Room 24/7
2810 South IH 35
San Marcos, Texas 78666
512.234.1081

Premier ER and Urgent Care
1509 N. IH 35
San Marcos, Texas 78666
512.648.6188


MAYOR HAEHN AMENDS ORDER
TO MIRROR GOVERNOR ABBOTT’S OPEN TEXAS PLAN

 

BUDA, TX - May 1, 2020 - Mayor George Haehn has amended his April 21, 2020 order to mirror the Executive Orders to open Texas issued by Governor Greg Abbott on Monday, April 27.

Here are the key points of Mayor Haehn’s May 1, 2020 Amended Order.
(Mayor Haehn Amended Order - May 1, 2020  

City of Buda Parks and HOA Managed Parks

  • All park restrooms will open to the public no later than Tuesday, May 5. Parks staff will clean restrooms daily. Water fountains, including at the Buda Dog Park, will remain closed. Please bring your own water. 
  • Jackson Tyler Norris Skatepark will open to the public no later than Tuesday, May 5. Please follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Soccer and softball fields will open to the public no later than Tuesday, May 5, but citizens may not congregate in groups larger than 4. This also applies to HOA-managed fields.
  • All other sports fields, playscapes, basketball courts, and other facilities remain closed to the public until further notice. This also applies to HOA-managed parks.
  • Reservations  of any parks facility, open or closed, are not allowed. Any existing reservations of these facilities are cancelled. Members of the public will need to cancel or postpone any events at City parks or HOA-managed parks.
  • Trails, green spaces, and tables in both City parks and HOA-managed parks remain open. Please observe social distancing guidelines while using park trails, green spaces, and tables.
  • The opening of Green Meadows Splash Pad is delayed until further notice. Splash pads at HOA-managed parks will also remain closed.  

Retail Businesses and Social Distancing Procedures

  • Retailers must mark the floor at six-foot (6”) intervals at registers or other areas where lines are formed to ensure that customers maintain a safe distance from one another.
  • Retailers must post notice of a “stand-off” rule, which requires customers to maintain a distance of six feet (6”) from one another as much as is practicable.

“As we take the first steps in reopening Buda,  it is important that we continue making decisions that protect the health and well-being of our citizens and first-responders,” said Mayor George Haehn. “While the Governor’s Open Texas Plan allows some businesses to open at  25% occupancy, we urge Buda citizens to take all of the necessary precautions to protect themselves. It is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that facial masks are worn in public to keep yourself and others safe. Please continue practicing social distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet separation from anyone outside of your household. It is also important to wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer when you are entering a business, interacting with employees, touching items, and paying for your purchases. If you are not feeling well, please stay home. For vulnerable citizens, including anyone over the age of 65, it is still recommended that you stay home as much as possible. ” 

View the Governor’s Executive Orders:

GA-18: Relating to the expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in

response to the COVID-19 disaster.

GA-19: Relating to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 disaster.

GA-20: Relating to expanding travel without restrictions as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.

For non-emergency questions about COVID-19 please call the Hays County COVID-19 Hotline at 512-393-5525.

For City of Buda information on COVID-19 please visit ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation.

Governor Abbott Announces Phase One To Open Texas, Establishes Statewide Minimum Standard Health Protocols

Creates Statewide Contact Tracing Program

Issues Special Guidance For Texans Over 65, Nursing Homes


AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced the first phase of the State of Texas’ ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase I, certain services and activities are allowed to open with limited occupancy, and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is issuing minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow. The Governor also outlined special guidance for Texans over 65 and detailed a comprehensive mitigation plan for nursing homes in Texas. The Governor also announced a statewide testing and tracing program developed by DSHS that will help public health officials quickly identify and test Texans who contract COVID-19 and mitigate further spread of the virus.

The Governor’s announcement is accompanied by Texans Helping Texans: The Governor’s Report to Open Texas. This detailed report, available on the strike force website, helps Texans understand phase one by outlining the new protocols, guidance, and recommendations. The report also includes a series of Open Texas Checklists that outline DSHS’ minimum standard health protocols for all Texans.

"This strategic approach to opening the state of Texas prioritizes the health and safety of our communities and follows the guidelines laid out by our team of medical experts," said Governor Abbott. "Now more than ever, Texans must remain committed to safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we must continue to rely on doctors and data to provide us with the safest strategies to restore Texans’ livelihoods. We must also focus on protecting the most vulnerable Texans from exposure to COVID-19. If we remain focused on protecting the lives of our fellow Texans, we can continue to open the Lone Star State."

By way of Executive Order (GA-18), all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls are permitted to reopen on Friday, May 1. These services must limit their capacity to 25% of their listed occupancy. Within shopping malls, the food-court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed.

All museums and libraries may open under the same 25% occupancy limitation, but interactive areas of museums must remain closed. State libraries and museums will open by May 1, and local public museums and libraries may reopen only if permitted by the local government. Single-person offices may reopen as well.

Churches and places of worship remain open. Outdoor sports are allowed to resume so long as no more than four participants are playing together at one time. Certain social distancing practices must also be followed. Local government operations, including county and municipal government operations relating to permitting, recordation, and document-filing services, may reopen as determined by the local government.

DSHS has recommended minimum standard health protocols for all individuals, all employers and employees, as well as industry-specific protocols for retailers, retail customers, restaurants, restaurant patrons, movie theaters, movie theater customers, museums and libraries, museum and library visitors, outdoor sports participants, single-person offices, and low COVID-19 counties. These protocols are outlined in the Open Texas Checklists within the Governor’s report beginning on page 20.

Essential services such as farmers and ranchers, grocery and drug stores, banks, and gas stations will continue to operate. Public swimming pools, bars, gyms, cosmetology salons, massage establishments, interactive amusement venues, such as bowling alleys and video arcades, and tattoo and piercing studios will remain closed through Phase I. Nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities must remain closed to visitors unless to provide critical assistance.

The Governor also established increased occupancy protocols for certain counties with five or fewer laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19. Those counties may, on an individualized basis, increase occupancy limits to up to 50% for restaurants, retail, shopping malls, museums and libraries, and movie theaters if they meet certain criteria. The county judge must certify and affirm to DSHS that the following standards have been investigated and confirmed to be met:

  1. The county had five or fewer COVID-19 laboratory confirmed cases on April 30, 2020 or, at a later date, five or fewer active COVID-19 cases as verified by DSHS.
  2. The county has created a list of testing opportunities in the county or the area.
  3. The county has been in contact with its designated regional advisory council to ensure the community is prepared for any needed health care transfers.
  4. The county has provided public notice to the residents of the county, including: Signs and symptoms of COVID-19: Recommended health and safety protocols in line with CDC guidance; Information regarding how residents can get tested in the area; A link to the DSHS website where residents can go to learn about community spread in nearby communities, in order to help county residents understand their risk to exposure if they travel regularly outside of the county.
  5. The county has contacted each of the following types of facilities located in the county to ensure they are complying with Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding COVID-19: Nursing homes; Assisted living facilities; Industrial, agricultural, or business facilities with a significant number of employees; and City or county jails.
  6. The county is equipped and prepared to protect vulnerable populations, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  7. The county has documented procedures to be activated if a resident becomes COVID-19 positive, including procedures to take appropriate measures as necessary in line with the plan to open Texas.
  8. The county has contacted DSHS in order to create a plan to ensure contact tracing will occur within 48 hours of a positive test reported to DSHS.

Phase I will begin Friday May 1 and continue until at least May 18. The Governor will continue to evaluate next steps for the state.

The Governor’s Report to Open Texas also outlines a long-term comprehensive mitigation plan for nursing homes in Texas. Eight recommendations have been developed by HHSC to help mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 and decrease the risk of infection in these facilities. A summary of the recommendations is below, and full recommendations are in the Governor’s report beginning on page 9:

  1. Quantify the extent of infection immediately
  2. Establish a comprehensive mitigation plan
  3. Re-evaluate current COVID-19 positive facilities
  4. Appropriate isolation and placement of COVID-19 patients
  5. Implement enhanced access controls
  6. Enhance control of staff access
  7. Effective notifications
  8. Continue containment efforts

During the press conference, the Governor also announced a new statewide testing and contact tracing program. Developed and implemented by DSHS, this program will help identify individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and those who may need to quarantine or be tested due to potential exposure. This phased implementation will allow Texans to box in the virus and slow, or even stop, further spread. Phase I of the tracing program has been completed, and Phase II begins today. Phase III begins May 11. More details about the contact tracing program are available in the Governor’s Report to Open Texas beginning on page 16.

Governor Abbott today also relaxed certain restrictions related to health care professionals and issued amended requirements related to hospital capacity. Under an Executive Order (GA-19) issued today:

  • All licensed health care professionals shall be limited in their practice by, and must comply with, any emergency rules promulgated by their respective licensing agencies dictating minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID-19 disaster.
  • Every hospital licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health & Safety Code shall reserve at least 15% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, as determined by HHSC.

Additionally, the Governor issued an Executive Order (GA-20) to eliminate the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for individuals traveling from Louisiana. Under GA-20, the mandated 14-day quarantine for travelers from the following areas remains in place: California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan, and Miami, Florida.

View Texans Helping Texans: The Governor’s Report to Open Texas.

View the Governor’s Executive Orders issued today:

  • GA-18: Relating to the expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
  • GA-19: Relating to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 disaster.

 GA-20: Relating to expanding travel without restrictions as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.

Governor Abbott Executive Order Breakdown 

There’s a lot to digest in Governor Abbott’s latest orders. The graphics below give a breakdown of what will reopen on May 1, what will remain closed and the restrictions that are in place. While masks are not required, they are highly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Persons at high risk or who are 65 years of age and older are encouraged to stay home. It is still recommended to avoid intermingling with people outside of your household.

The City of Buda will continue operating virtually until further notice. 

FAQ 1

FAQ 2

FAQ 3

What is the City of Buda doing in response to the coronavirus?

Frequently Asked Questions

Are face masks required in Buda?

 Not at this time. The City of Buda does not require individuals to wear face coverings in public. However, the CDC encourages individuals to wear cloth face coverings. To learn more, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html.

Is Buda under a Stay at Home Order?

Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-14 in March restricting non-essential services to apply social-distancing restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. It limited social gatherings and in-person contact with people other than those in the same household to providing or accessing “essential services” as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure. This order is set to expire on April 30th.

The “Stay Home, Work Safe” order issued by Hays County expired on April 11th. The curfew enacted by the Hays County order has also expired.

Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-16 (issued April 17, 2020) allows retail services that are not “essential services” to begin providing pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep in strict compliance with terms outlined by DSHS. Those requirements may be found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.

What businesses are allowed to be open?

Under Governor Abbott’s GA-16 Executive Order, as of April 24, 202, retails services that are not “essential services” may provide pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep service in strict compliance with DSHS requirements as found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.

“Essential services” as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure may continue to operate.

Eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, and visiting gyms, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studies, or cosmetology salons are only permitted to provide drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.

What standards must be followed for a business to reopen?

Download the “DSHS guidance on how to re-open safely for both employees and customers at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/docs/ReOpenedRetailGuidance.pdf. It requires employees to be trained on hygiene and respiratory etiquette, employees to be screened before coming to work for symptoms, employees to wash hands or sanitize when entering the business, employees to wear face coverings, and employees to maintain at least 6 feet separation from one another. Employees must further wash hands/sanitize after each interaction with a customer. All payments should be done over the phone or internet.

What local orders or requirements are still in place?

Mayor Haehn issued a new Order on April 21, 2020 removing the one-way aisle requirement in stores operating under the essential critical infrastructure definition. The requirement for doors to essential business to remain opened or to use automatic opening equipment to reduce the touching of door handles remains in effect.

Are parks closed?

Under Mayor Haehn’s Order park amenities remain closed including sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skateparks, water fountains and other facilities of both City and private parks such as HOA parks. This is done to reduce transmission of the virus from commonly touched surfaces and activities where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Trails and green spaces remain open. Visitor’s must observe the 6’ social distancing guidelines while in parks. Masks are not required in Buda, but they are required in state parks as ordered by Governor Abbott.

Resources

Governor Abbott’s News and Executive Orders - https://gov.texas.gov/news

Texas Department of State Health Services – www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

Daycare Center Information

Child day care operations are encouraged to remain open to serve essential service employees and children receiving protective daycare services authorized by the Department of Family & Protective Services. The governor has set up the Frontline Child Care Portal(link is external) to match essential service employees with available child care spots.

Can I continue to serve families of non-essential service employees?

No. You can only provide child care services for essential service employees and for children receiving protective day care services. You may use the attached Parent Letter(link is external) to inform parents who have children still attending your child care operation of this change.

How can I provide child day care for essential service employees and for children receiving protective day care services?

If your child day care operation will remain open to serve essential service employees and for children receiving protective day care services complete the Initial Vacancy Notification(link is external) and we can publish your operation’s information on the new Frontline Child Care Portal. Visit this link(link is external) to find instructions for how to log in for the first time. If you continue to have difficulties logging on, email MSC@hhsc.state.tx.us.

How often can I update my available spots on the Frontline Child Care portal?

Establish your account and then you can update your open spots at any time. The system will send you reminders. It will require you to update your availability at least weekly.

Do I have to confirm a parent’s essential service employee status prior to providing child day care?

Yes, you must ensure you are only providing child day care to essential service employees and to children receiving protective day care services per the Executive Order GA 14(link is external).

All parents must complete one of two forms. Form 7265 will indicate which approved essential service they are providing per the US Department of Homeland Security(link is external) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management(link is external). Form 7264 will indicate they have been authorized by DFPS to receive protective day care services.

Do I have to keep a record of the completed form for each child in my care?

Yes, you must keep a record of the completed form for each child in your care.

Can my staff bring their own children to my child day care operation while they work?

Yes, your staff can bring their own children to the child day care operation while they work if are providing child day care for essential service employees and for children receiving protective day care services.

How can I ensure the health and safety of my staff and children in care?

You must follow:

What steps should I take if I choose to close my operation?

Complete the following survey to update us on your operation’s status(link is external) whether you plan to permanently or temporarily close your operation.

CITY OF BUDA SMALL BUSINESS TASK FORCE
DEVELOPS “STILL BUDAFUL” STIMULUS PROGRAM

BUDA, TX – April 8, 2020 - In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Buda City Council authorized the Still Budaful Stimulus Program to assist businesses negatively affected by the pandemic. The Still Budaful Stimulus is a local economic development program authorized under Chapter 380 of the Texas Local Government Code to help reduce the resulting economic strain on local businesses. On March 20, Buda City Council declared a local state of disaster. As a result, the pandemic caused closures and limitations on local businesses in Buda.  At that same meeting, Council appointed a Small Business Task Force to research ways to assist businesses during this time of need.

On April 6, 2020 members of the Buda Economic Development Corporation (Buda EDC) approved an Agreement for Funding of the Still Budaful Stimulus Program. On April 7, 2020 the Buda City Council also committed funds to this program. The total contributions between the City of Buda and Buda EDC amount to $380,000, allowing eligible businesses to apply for the following assistance programs:

  • Still Budaful Stimulus Grant
  • Hotel Occupancy Tax Payment Emergency Deferral + Forgiveness Program
  • Buda Emergency Co-Marketing Grant

About the Still Budaful Stimulus Grant:

The program funded between the City of Buda and the Buda EDC provides limited financial assistance to businesses severely impacted as a result of the ‘Stay at Home, Work Safe’ Order implemented by Hays County and the City of Buda to reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19. It provides $380,000 in government-funded grants for eligible small businesses that are independently owned and operated with a maximum of 50 employees. Eligible industries may include retail (storefront), food and beverage; personal care (barber shop, nail salons, spas, etc.), automobile maintenance, education training, health/wellness, art galleries and small manufacturing businesses. National chains, home-based businesses, non-profit organizations and permanent business closures are not eligible for the grant.  Additionally, businesses must meet the following criteria to receive up to $5,000 in grant funding.

Physical and publicly accessible location within the City of Buda city limits (no home-based businesses).

Experienced or projected to experience a decline in revenue and/or employment starting March 1, 2020 and ending at which time the government has allowed citizens to return to normal activity.

In good standing with the City of Buda regarding licensing and permits.

Must be registered with the Texas Comptroller’s Office as a sales tax revenue generating business for the City of Buda.

Engaged in activities that are legal under city and state law.

About the Hotel Occupancy Tax Payment Emergency Deferral + Forgiveness Program:

The program provides limited financial assistance to City of Buda hotels through the deferral and forgiveness of hotel occupancy tax payments to hotels severely impacted as a result of the ‘Stay at Home, Work Safe’ Order. The Program provides a 60-day deferral of hotel occupancy tax payments for March 20, 2020 and April 20, 2020, with an additional offering of forgiving up to $5,000 of deferred hotel occupancy tax payments. This program has an aggregate of $45,000 available for hotel occupancy tax forgiveness. Hotels must apply to be eligible. In addition, hotels must meet the following criteria:

  • Collects hotel occupancy tax for the City of Buda.
  • Experienced or projected to experience a decline in revenue between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Experienced or projected to experience a decline in employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In good standing with the City of Buda with regard to licensing and finance, including being current on sales and use tax payments.
  • Engaged in activities that are legal under city and state law.

About the Emergency Co-Marketing Grant Program:

The program, funded through Hotel Occupancy Tax, provides online marketing assistance to tourism-related businesses located within the City of Buda during a time of social distancing. Qualifying small businesses can be reimbursed for 100% of online marketing costs, up to $50 per month, for a maximum of two months to promote their businesses to new and existing customers inside and outside of Buda city limits. To qualify, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a registered business located within Buda City limits. Businesses located in the ETJ do not qual
  • Must be privately owned and must be in a tourism-service related industry to include retail, food, beverage, etc.
  • Advertisements must adhere to and support proper social distancing guidelines.
  • Qualifying advertisements are limited to social media, web and online marketing efforts.
  • Website creation is a qualifying expense and can be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of $100 at the time of the expense.
  • Qualifying advertisements may target potential customers in Buda but must primarily target potential customers from outside of Buda City Limits.
  • Advertising must promote tourism and meet the Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Code requirements:
    • The expenditure must directly enhance and promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry
    • Promote tourism in the City of Buda

In addition to the sub-programs available under the Still Budaful Stimulus Program, Buda City Council voted to waive food truck fees for the 2nd quarter. Food trucks must still register with the City of Buda to remain in compliance. City Council also waived credit card transaction fees, utility late fees and utility disconnects for two months.

Applications 

The Still Budaful Stimulus Program will officially launch on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 12 noon. Online applications will be available at that time: www.stillbudaful.org

About the Small Business Task Force:

The Task Force consists of: Buda City Council Member Evan Ture; City Manager of the City of Buda Kenneth Williams; Assistant City Manager for the City of Buda Lauren Middleton-Pratt; Finance Director for the City of Buda June Ellis; Director of Tourism for the City of Buda Lysa Gonzalez; Main Street Program Manager for the City of Buda Maggie Gillespie; Buda EDC Board President Jennifer Storm; Buda EDC Executive Director Traci Anderson; Buda Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director J.R. Gonzales; and City Attorney for the City of Buda George Hyde. Unlike the other members of the Task Force, Mr. Hyde reviews applications for legal compliance only.

Quotes from Small Business Task Force Members

“The Buda business community is motived, resourceful and dedicated to being successful. During this pandemic, local businesses are struggling to stay open and to take care of their employees. This stimulus grant will be crucial in assisting business get through this unforeseen crisis,” said J.R. Gonzales, Buda Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

“The Buda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is committed to expanding and promoting local business. During this time of social distancing the BEDC Board approved $210,000 toward the Still Budaful Stimulus Program which will provide grants to small businesses in Buda. Small business is the backbone of our community. Buda is and will continue to be a business-friendly community and this program proves that through good times and bad, the Buda EDC is here for Buda businesses,” said Jennifer Storm, Buda Economic Development Corporation Bord President.

“We applaud the bold leadership exhibited by City Council and our municipal partners during this time of economic uncertainty. We are committed to the citizens of Buda and it is our hope that this program can provide economic relief during this trying time,” said Lauren Middleton-Pratt, Assistant City Manager.

CITY OF BUDA
UTILITY LATE FEES/DISCONNECTS, CREDIT CARD TRANSACTIONS, MOBILE FOOD VENDOR FEES, AND INSPIRED MINDS ART CENTER

Utility Late Fees/Utility Disconnects Suspended for Two Months: As initially discussed at the March 20 City Council meeting, utility late fees and disconnects will be waived for the months of April and May. An ordinance was passed at the April 7 meeting to ratify the suspension of utility late fees and waive all utility disconnects for two months.

Credit Card Transaction Fees Waived: All in person or over the phone City-processed credit card transaction fees will be waived for two months beginning on April 8, 2020. The City processes and charges a $2.75 credit card transaction fee only on credit card transactions paid in person or over the phone. The City does not charge a transaction fee for online payments. However, the City’s financial software provider, Tyler Technologies, Inc., which hosts the website for city residents and businesses to make online payments, does collect its own online transaction fees. 

Mobile Food Vendor Fee Waived for One Quarter (April Through June 2020): In order to provide relief to the City’s mobile food vendors, the mobile food vendor fee paid by vendors who operate in Buda will be waived for April, May, and June. There is a quarterly $55 “hot fee” for mobile food vendors who operate or sell hot food for human consumption and a quarterly $45 “cold fee” for mobile food vendors who operate or sell cold food for human consumption.

Inspired Minds Art Center (IMAC):  At the March 20, 2020 Special Called City Council meeting, staff presented a request from the Inspired Minds Art Center to suspend the monthly license use fee due to the cancellation of classes because of COVID-19. The Inspired Minds Art Center opened in January 2020 after the City solicited requests for proposals to reuse the former City of Buda city hall located at 121 Main Street in downtown Buda. A public-private partnership was created with Inspired Minds, LLC. to assist with the City’s arts program. The Inspired Minds Art Center followed the City’s lead for city-sponsored events and suspended activity in mid-March because of COVID-19. On April 7, 2020, the City Council approved a two-month waiver of license use fees in the amount of $8,000.

Hays County Resources for Residents Impacted by COVID-19

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (April 14, 2020) – Hays County is sharing this list of resources for residents who have lost their jobs or need food, mental health support, or other assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources are also available for small businesses and nonprofits. Persons who need help and live within a city limit in Hays County should also check their city’s website for additional assistance that may be available. Texas State University students have resources available to them here.

If you don’t need assistance: most of these (and other) agencies and nonprofits appreciate monetary donations during this time, and some need volunteers as well as they are serving many more than their usual number of clients.

It’s important during this pandemic event to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. Individuals feeling extra stressed, depressed, anxious, or concerned because of the COVID-19 pandemic can call the Texas Health and Human Services Commission mental health support toll-free hotline at 833-986-1919. It operates 24/7.

Residents can call a hotline at 512.393.5525 with non-emergency COVID-19 questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Spanish speakers will be available. You can also check online in English and Spanish for symptoms, prevention, and treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms, call your health-care provider to describe your symptoms and get instructions. Do not drive directly to your clinic, urgent care center, or hospital. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms are severe.

The bipartisan CARES Act signed in March means that individuals and families within certain income ranges will receive financial assistance directly as will small businesses, healthcare providers, and others.

The Texas Workforce Commission has a lot of information about eligibility, programs, and a sign-up to get alerts about job opportunities especially for those who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19.

Some individuals could now be eligible for the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which provides funds to supplement family food purchases and has a limited program for single adults.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program can help eligible families with children (including a grandparent or other adult caring for a child).

The Hays County Food Bank holds drive-through and walk-up (social distancing is enforced) distribution locations for low-income families and persons experiencing a food emergency. Even if you do not meet the usual guideless for the Food Bank, if you have lost your job, or lost your sole provider, then you may be eligible for a set period of time. New clients are encouraged to call the Food Bank at 512-392-8300 to sign up beforehand to minimize time spent at the distribution sites.

The Women, Infant, and Children’s (WIC) program has temporarily expanded approved foods for clients who cannot find items typically on the program’s list. For more information or to apply visit the Central Texas WIC Facebook page or the WIC website.

The United Way for Greater Austin provides information about food, health, childcare and more. Call 211 to find help and resources related to COVID-19.

For those experiencing family violence, sexual assault, dating violence or child abuse in the community, the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center is ready to assist. Please call the 24-hour crisis HELPLine at 512-396-4357.

The Greater San Marcos Youth Council is offering resources for children and family members. Tips on reducing stress, activities for children, and other helpful information is online, and staff is available to help find additional resources.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is assisting employees in the food service industry who are experiencing hardships because of COVID-19.

AuntBertha.com is a free service that shows by zip code many organizations that can assist in a variety of ways, such as food, medical care, job training, and more.

Small businesses and nonprofits can apply through the Small Business Administration for emergency grants and a forgivable loan program for companies with 500 or fewer employees. There are also changes to rules for expenses and deductions so that companies can keep employees on the payroll and stay open in the near-term. Small businesses that already have SBA loans may get help for payments.

CITY OF BUDA CONDUCTING BUSINESS VIRTUALLY
STARTING AT 5 P.M. THURSDAY, MARCH 19

To follow the social distancing guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD), as of 5:00 p.m. today (Thursday, March 19) all City offices will be conducting business virtually. This means there will no be walk-ins, with all business being done via telephone and computer.   

You can contact City Departments directly at the numbers below:
Public Works (512-312-2876)

Buda Police Department - Non-Emergency (512-393-7896)

Parks (512-523-1083)

Utility Billing (512-295-8845)

Municipal Court (512-295-2562)

Library (512-295-5899)

Planning, Permitting, and Engineering (512-312-5745)

Utility billing and municipal court payments may be paid online here: https://www.municipalonlinepayments.com/budatx. Additional ways to make utility payments include online through your bank, over the phone at 512-295-8845, and by mail to 405 E. Loop St., Building 100, Buda, Texas. Customers can also utilize the utility payment drop boxes at the front entrance of the building and near the library book drop. The utility billing e-mail that residents should use to communicate with utilities is utilitybilling@ci.buda.tx.us  

Municipal Court: Buda Municipal Court will be closed to the public starting March 20th. The decision is made in an effort limit the number of individuals gathering in a confined space to reduce the risks to public health. Although operations are closed to the public, individuals may still contact the Court by phone and email to get information and handle their cases; many options are available that do not require a personal appearance.

All court dockets are cancelled. Cases that are set on dockets will be rescheduled to a date after May 8th; individuals will be notified by mail of their new court date.

All individuals are encouraged to call 512-295-2562 or email the Court budamunicipalcourt@ci.buda.tx.us in lieu of making personal appearances to take care of their court business.

Park rentals, library programs and all City-sponsored events are suspended until further notice.  

Additional online resources: 

Permitting and Inspections: https://www.mygovernmentonline.org/

Licenses, Permits and Fees: http://ci.buda.tx.us/297/Applications-Licenses-Permits-Fees

You can view City Council meetings online here:
https://www.ci.buda.tx.us/390/Council-Board-Commission-Meetings---VIEW

For more information on Buda Library Services:

Buda Public Library Electronic Resources:  https://buda.biblionix.com/catalog/

Buda Public Library: www.budalibrary.org

Parks and Recreation Department Closures

Mayor Haehn has included neighborhood parks and private parks in the restrictions/closures.

following Federal, State and Local guidelines to limit the potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.  Implemented policies and procedures are in place to include:

  • Closure of all sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skatepark and facility reservations until further notice.
  • Cancel or postpone special events until further notice.
  • Trails and green spaces will remain open, unless otherwise directed by Federal, State or local authorities. 
  • Please respect social distancing while in the park system-trails, tables, etc.
  • Water fountains will not be available for use.
  • Green Meadows Splash Pad will have a delayed opening for the season.  Updates will be placed on our City website when available.

Please be safe and healthy during this time, if you have any questions please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 512-523-1081.

City of Buda Extends Disaster Declaration

BUDA, TX - March 20, 2020 – The Buda City Council voted today (March 20, 2020) in a special meeting to extend the disaster declaration issued by Mayor George Haehn on March 13 until further notice.

Amended Disaster Proclamation

The declaration ensures that the City of Buda will have access to Federal and State resources while the coronavirus impacts lives, businesses, and most aspects of everyday life.

On Thursday, March 19, Governor Abbott declared that all schools, gyms, bars and restaurants will be closed for 14 days to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus in Texas that goes into effect on Friday, March 20 at 11:59 p.m. and runs through 11:59 p.m. on April 3. County Judge Ruben Becerra issued a second order closing all daycare centers in Hays County for the same time period as the Governor’s ruling. In solidarity with Judge Becerra, Mayor Haehn has also ordered the closure of daycare facilities in Buda for 14 days starting at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 20. The order lasts until 11:59 p.m. on April 3.     

“This was a tough decision that was made after much discussion with my counterparts across Hays County. I am thankful for their leadership and we are working together to keep our communities safe,” Mayor George Haehn said. 

One of the ways that COVID-19 spreads is through person-to-person contact. There are a lot of businesses impacted by closures, and one of the best ways to get them all back up and running is by social distancing, which is extremely difficult to manage in a daycare facility.

“A task force has been assembled to look at alternatives to our current Order closing daycare facilities through April 3, and we are looking forward to their recommendations,” County Judge Ruben Becerra said.

The Governor has issued an Order limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons during the same timeframe as the Judge’s Order, and the County and cities are doing their best to break the cycle of CORVID-19 spread by closing day care facilities in Hays County for the approximate two-week timeframe. The Order by Judge Ruben Becerra on March 19, with agreement from city mayors, could be extended or rescinded.

City council also discussed the financial impact of COVID-19 to local businesses. Out of that discussion city council commissioned a joint task force to address the needs of businesses in Buda.

“We are thankful to the city council for taking steps to ensure a solid economic footing for the businesses in Buda. There are going to be some things done for small business, but not only small business, but business throughout the City of Buda. They commissioned a joint task force that is made up of representatives of the City, the Buda Economic Development Corporation, the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce, the Main Street Director, and Tourism Director.”      

City council adopted a resolution ratifying the City Manager’s Emergency Directives and adopted Emergency Policies pertaining to Emergency Event Telecommuting and an Emergency Event Leave for City of Buda staff.      

In the meantime, City services are still being offered with modified and virtual access to employees.
   
“The City of Buda is fully operational, although we are not servicing customers face to face in our typical office setting. We want Buda citizens to know that the Mayor, Council, myself, and City employees will continue to work to meet your needs through this ever-evolving situation,” City Manager Kenneth Williams said.

“I want the Citizens of Buda to know that we will get through this together. These temporary restrictions are painful, but necessary. The sooner we can stop additional spread of the virus, the sooner we can retain some normalcy,” Mayor Haehn said.

Please continue to follow the City of Buda on social media and at www.ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation.

Message to City of Buda Utility Customers

Dear City of Buda Utility Customers:

As you are aware, there is a growing concern over the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it continues to evolve. Please know that the City of Buda remains committed to providing safe drinking water to our customers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water regulations require treatment of public water systems to remove or kill pathogens, including viruses. The City of Buda uses chlorine as a disinfectant for bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. City operators perform daily chlorine testing in accordance with EPA regulations to ensure chlorine levels remain within an acceptable range.

The City of Buda is also taking precautions to protect our staff from any illness that would disrupt service. We have operations staff that are cross-trained and licensed in both water and wastewater operations to ensure safe and reliable treatment of water and wastewater in the areas we serve.

In order to promote the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing recommendations, we are encouraging utility customers to pay bills online or by phone using a credit card, or by mail. To pay by phone, call (512) 295-8845, or please visit the following website: https://www.municipalonlinepayments.com/budatx. Two drop box locations are available at City Hall located at the front entrance, and near the library book drop. Checks can be mailed to 405 E. Loop Street, Building 100, Buda, Texas 78610.

Beginning on, March 18, 2020, the City of Buda will be crediting customer accounts after the transaction for credit card processing fees on payments made online or by phone. The City of Buda is also temporarily halting late payment fees and disconnections due to non-payment.

We will continue to monitor State and Federal health agencies’ guidance and recommendations for potential impacts in order to serve you. The City of Buda remains committed to providing safe and reliable service to you during this time.

If you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact either Public Works at 512-312-2876 or Utility Billing at 512-295-8845.

Non-City Related Closures

The Board of Directors of the Onion Creek Senior Center in Buda has made the decision to close the Senior Center to all activities – exercise classes, dances, games, etc. -- during the week of March 16 – 22, 2020, due to concerns with the Covid-19 coronavirus and the safety of our seniors. The Center will be serving a take-out lunch on Thursday, March 19, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Hays CISD Updates:  www.hayscisd.net/coronavirus 

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Orders In Accordance With Federal Guidelines To Mitigate Spread Of COVID-19 In Texas

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced a series of Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. These orders are in accordance with federal guidelines issued by the President and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will aid in the state’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Governor Abbott was joined for the announcement by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

Commissioner Hellerstedt also announced that he has declared a Public Health Disaster which will give state and local officials additional tools to respond to COVID-19. The Governor’s Executive Orders, combined with the Public Health Disaster, provide Texas with enhanced tools and protocols to help state and local partners in their ongoing efforts to respond to, track the progress of, and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. 

"The State of Texas is at a pivotal moment in our response to COVID-19, and it is imperative that we act now on preemptive measures to slow the spread of this virus," said Governor Abbott. "One of the most effective ways we can do this is by promoting more social distancing and ensuring Texans avoid large group settings such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and schools where the risk of spreading COVID-19 is high. We must also continue to protect our most vulnerable populations, which is why the State of Texas is barring all visitations at nursing homes and retirement or long-term care facilities except in the case of critical assistance. Today’s executive orders are precautionary measures that are in line with guidelines from the CDC and they will strengthen Texas’ ability to safeguard our communities and respond to COVID-19. As Texans, we must continue to work collaboratively to slow the spread of this virus and protect public health."

The following orders have been issued by Governor Abbott: 

  • Order No. 1: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Order No. 2: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.
  • Order No. 3: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  • Order No. 4: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.

These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 11:59 PM on March 20, 2020 and will end at 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.

This executive order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. This executive order does not mandate sheltering in place. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services. 

For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVD-19. The more that people reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained and the sooner this executive order will expire.

Under Chapter 81 of the Health and Safety Code, Commissioner Hellerstedt’s Public Health Disaster Declaration triggers a number of important tools for state and local officials to respond to COVID-19:

  • Texas and local health authorities can more easily require property owners to disinfect, decontaminate, and seal off property that might be contaminated.
  • It authorizes health authorities to take additional control measures that they see fit to control and eradicate the threat to public health. 
  • It streamlines the process for state and local health authorities to invoke the courts to enforce quarantines of individuals.
  • Activates enhanced tools for DSHS to collect disease and health information and to share that information with law enforcement personnel and first responders as appropriate.

View the Governor’s Executive Order

View the Public Health Disaster Declaration

Latest Information From Hays County on Coronavirus 

COVID-19 Stay Home, Work Safe Order for Hays County

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra issued a Stay Home, Work Safe Order effective March 26, 2020, at 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. April 10, 2020, unless extended or cancelled. The Order also imposes a nightly curfew for members of the public between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Stay Home, Work Safe Order - FULL ORDER 

The Order was put in place to limit movement and activity among people in Hays County to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Residents, employers and employees are asked to follow the order to protect themselves and our community.

Mayor George Haehn has amended his previous order that closed daycare centers in Buda. The amended order mirrors the current “Stay Home, Work Safe” order put in to place by Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra. After consulting with the City Attorney, it was determined that in the event of any conflict between the orders of the county judge and mayor, the orders of the county judge prevail. 

Mayor Haehn Amended Order - March 27, 2020 

Under Judge Becerra’s order day care facilities that serve essential workers can remain open, with restrictions on how they operate in order to help ensure children and employees do not spread the virus.

See childcare service restrictions in “Section 4, viii” of Hays County Stay Home, Stay Safe order: Stay Home, Work Safe Order 

While Hays County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order allows for day care facilities to remain open with restrictions, the decision to open or close is up to individual daycare owners.        

Mayor Haehn’s amended order also asks retailers to implement one-way aisles in their establishments to help with customer flow, overcrowding, and observation of the 6-foot social distancing recommendations by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Businesses will need to mark the floor at six-foot intervals at registers or other areas where lines are formed. In addition, all doors used for the general public should be situated in a way that customers do not have to touch the door entering or exiting the business.

“I met with as many of our local retailers as possible and greatly appreciate their cooperation in keeping everyone safe. A week ago, we had 6 positive COVID-19 cases in Hays County. That number has since doubled and will likely continue to increase. It is important that we continue to work as a community to prevent further spread of the virus in Buda and Hays County and prevent our hospitals and medical professionals from being overwhelmed with patients.”

As mentioned previously, all sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skateparks, water fountains and other facilities are closed to the public until further notice. Trails and green spaces remain open, but please practice social distancing guidelines and keep six feet of space between yourself and others who do not live in your same household. The same rules apply for HOA managed and private parks facilities.           

“My amended order is designed to protect the health and welfare of our citizens, while balancing their ability to live and work.”

For additional clarification on Hays County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order please visit Hays County’s website here:  https://hayscountytx.com/questions-from-residents-about-judges-3rd-order-answered/

You can also visit http://haysinformed.com/.

For non-emergency questions about COVID-19 please call the Hays County COVID-19 Hotline at 512-393-5525.

For City of Buda information on COVID-19 please visit ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra Signs Order That Includes Closing Daycare Centers

On March 19, 2020, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra signed a 2nd Order related to COVID-19 that in ways mirrors one signed earlier in the day by Governor Greg Abbott, with some differences. These orders supersede previous ones.

Governor Abbott’s Order begins at 11:59 PM on March 20, 2020 and ends at 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020, subject to extension, as does the County’s. The Governor’s Order limits social gatherings to no more than 10 people, and closes bars, gyms, restaurants (to-go and delivery still allowed), and schools statewide. It also bans visits to nursing and retirement homes unless there is a critical need.

The Judge’s Order includes closing daycare centers throughout the county for the time period and encourages social distancing for events that are exempted from the gathering requirement. Read the entire Hays County Order here: https://tinyurl.com/shlsbky

“The County’s new COVID-19 Order was a collaborative effort with mayors of cities within Hays County,” Judge Becerra, said. “We met via conference call to discuss and gathered input on these serious changes to our way of life. We came to agreement on what would best serve all our residents.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra Order on Social Gatherings - March 17

On Tuesday, March 17 Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra issued the following order. regarding social gatherings Here’s a link to the document: Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra Order

Esta tarde (17 de marzo), el juez del condado de Hays, Ruben Becerra, emitió la siguiente orden. Aquí hay un enlace al documento: https://tinyurl.com/wmmkts5

CDC Extends Time for Release of Quarantined Persons without Fever - March 16

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (March 16, 2020) – The CDC has issued updated guidelines for the time a person in quarantine should be fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications. Now, those quarantined must be fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, up from 48. This applies to those persons already in quarantine in addition to future persons who are quarantined.

Hays County’s Hays Informed website, www.HaysInformed.com, has a rolling update on COVID-19 issues in Hays County posted by multiple jurisdictions.

County, Cities Issue Disaster Declarations to Stay Ahead of Potential COVID-19 Needs

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (March 16, 2020) – Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra and mayors from throughout Hays County announced disaster declarations at a press conference Sunday at the Hays County Courthouse. The declarations allow local governments to allocate resources and personnel as well as request funds and additional resources from the state and federal governments to assist in managing the effects of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus.

One resident of Hays County is presumed positive for the virus and is self-quarantined at home following travel to the West Coast. That person did not have contact with Hays County residents, and Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider said the chances of contracting COVID-19 from that person are low to nil. Schneider noted the hospital the patient went to after getting off the plane March 12 followed all proper protocols to ensure the virus wasn’t spread there.

At the press conference, Judge Becerra expressed his appreciation for the collaboration with cities and school districts, saying, “We are working together on every front – what you see here is merely the tip of the spear of your government working for you. I am grateful to have a visible show of support here and we are at every level united.”

Mayor Jane Hughson of San Marcos, Mayor Travis Mitchell of Kyle, Mayor George Haehn of Buda, and Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Minnick of Wimberley each addressed reporters as did Rep. Erin Zwiener, while Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds of Dripping Springs lent support by his presence. Common themes emerged as each spoke:

- Governments throughout the county are working together, and collaborating with the state and federal governments, all of which have plans and protocols in place for all types of emergencies

-The need for residents to follow good hygiene practices

-Supply chains are operating as normal, making stockpiling supplies unnecessary.

“We did not have an earthquake or a hurricane, we still have lights and water and the supply chain will still move cargo,” Judge Becerra said. “Everything is going to be fine in reference to supplies.” Because some residents are stockpiling and purchasing more than a normal amount, stores are having difficulty restocking shelves, causing shoppers to think supplies are low.

Residents who are healthy were also encouraged to look out for neighbors who might have difficulty in navigating grocery store crowds as well as those who are food insecure or whose income has suddenly dropped.

“This is just a virus – it’s not Ebola – and it spreads like flu,” Schneider, Epidemiologist for the Hays County Local Health Department, said. “Please stay home if you feel sick or have a fever. The majority of people who get this and stay home will have the virus run its course and go back to their normal daily life 48 hours after they are fever-free. There is no magic pill for this. If your doctor orders a test and you test positive you still go home and wait it out.” He noted that persons who experience a sudden spike in fever (104 degrees or above) or shortness of breath should definitely seek medical attention, but otherwise over-the-counter fever medications are the usual treatment. Schneider also pointed out that unless a person is already exhibiting symptoms a test would come back negative for the virus.

To watch the press conference on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3VRTirrHrhE. For additional information about COVID-19 visit your city’s website, the Hays County website, www.HaysInformed.com, the Centers for Disease Control, or the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Good hygiene practices are essential:
Prevention Tips:
1. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day, including between
your fingers and underneath your nails. Handwashing is considered the best way to remove
germs and dirt, and hand sanitizers should be used only when handwashing is not available.
The hand sanitizers should be at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective.
2. Avoid handshaking and high-fives
3. Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
4. Stay home when you feel sick
5. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then put the tissue in the trash, or use the crook of
your elbow if a tissue isn’t available
6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household
disinfectant cleaning spray or wipe. Clean cell and desk phones, computer keyboards, door
handles, and work surfaces often.
7. Face masks are not considered an effective way to prevent someone from catching a virus
unless you have close, frequent contact with a sick person; however, they are an option for sick
people to use to keep from spreading the virus.
8. Avoid travel to areas that have been designated high-risk areas because of multiple verified
cases of Corona
9. Individuals are encouraged to avoid large gatherings. This includes, but is not limited to
concerts, plays, sporting events, gymnasiums, dances, and restaurants. Recreation activities
that can be practiced in private are encouraged. This virus spreads by person-to-person
transmission just like the flu, so limiting human contact can help prevent COVID-19 from
spreading.

Hays County Website
https://hayscountytx.com/coronavirus-covid-19-information-…/

Texas Department of State Health Services
https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

Centers for Disease Control
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Helpful Links

Hays County Health Department

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For more information on the Novel Coronavirus, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services

World Health Organization

Hays County COVID-19 Hotline 

COVID-19 Hotline Available for Hays County Residents 

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (March 23, 2020) -- To address a rising tide of questions and concerns about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Hays County Local Health Department, in conjunction with the City of San Marcos, has established a call center to respond to questions from Hays County residents.  

Residents may call the hotline at 512.393.5525 with non-emergency COVID-19 questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Spanish speakers will be available. You can also check online for symptoms, prevention, and treatment at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html in English and Spanish. 

Callers will be placed into an automated system when calling in to the hotline. If you are a Hays County resident, select one (1). You will then be placed in the queue for the next available operator to assist in answering any questions. Call Center personnel will answer frequently asked questions about symptoms, possible testing, and self-isolation.  

If you are experiencing symptoms or concerned that you have been exposed to the virus, please call your health care professional to determine next steps. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1. 

Additional information about symptoms and prevention is at  the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control which offers information in Spanish and Chinese as well as English. As in any emergency situation, www.HaysInformed.com, the countywide emergency notification blog, has a rolling list of important information regarding COVID19.  

More Information From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How COVID-19  Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

Watch for Symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

 Prevention and Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

How to prepare and take action for COVID 19 (Communities, Schools, and Businesses)

At Home

At K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs

At Colleges and Universities

At Work

Community-and-Faith Based Organizations 

Large Community Events/Mass Gatherings

Healthcare Settings

First Responders

Homeless Shelters