(IMPORTANT NOTE: Changes to this order were made after the March 28 edition of The Rockport Pilot was printed. In the print edition it says all beaches and boat and kayak launches are closed.  THAT IS NOT THE CASE. Beaches, boat and kayak launches  are open in Aransas County.)

Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills, Jr., Rockport Mayor Patrick Rios, and Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick have signed and released a joint proclamation declaring an “Order To Stay Home” for residents. The Order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, March 28 and continues until 11:59 pm Tuesday, April 14.

“This decision was not made lightly,” said Judge Mills. “We have been reviewing what’s happening at the federal and state levels. And, like some of our neighboring counties and cities, felt that more stringent measures were needed.

“We also felt it was important to lead by example, which is why we are not having a press conference,” he added.

Mayor Rios said, “We realize these efforts will cause economic problems for local businesses and employees.

“These are difficult times, which call for difficult decisions and measures. We’re hoping the stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, increased hiring at HEB and Walmart, creative use of marketing, utilizing the delivery and take out services offered by local residents, and other measures will help stem the tide in the weeks ahead.”

Mayor Kendrick stressed the importance of abiding by this order.

“This is a bigger fight than Harvey - and an invisible one at that,” he said. “We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones, and friends and neighbors in the community to do whatever it takes to stop the spread of this insidious virus.”

The Order closely follows those of other entities, but with notable additions:

1. All parks within the geographic boundaries of Aransas County, the city limits of Rockport, and the town limits of Fulton are closed. Hike and bike trails will remain open, but social distancing guidelines must be used.

2. A curfew has been established for the hours between midnight and 5 am. Exceptions include:

a. Traveling to and from or being engaged in employment at an essential business.

b. Tending to a bona fide medical emergency

c. Caring for an elderly or sick family member

3. A violation of this Order is a violation of the emergency management plans of the three government entities and is punishable by fines and jail time.

Copies of the Order and Exhibit are available on each of the entities’ web sites.

(Note: the Order and Exhibit are also posted on The Rockport Pilot’s website www.rockportpilot.com and Facebook page.)

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