Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills, Rockport Mayor Pat Rios, and Fulton Mayor Kelli Cole have issued an amended order to stay at home.
It was effective Monday, June 29.
(Note: The amended order was posted to The Rockport Pilot’s Facebook page that day.)
The new order reads:
1. Effective June 29, 2020, 11:59 P.M., and continuing until superseded:
(a) All people 10 years or older shall wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public place where it is difficult to keep six feet away from other people or working in areas that involve close proximity with other coworkers. The CDC advises face coverings for people 2 years or older. Face coverings may include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or a handkerchief. Aransas County residents should continue to maintain social distancing of at least six feet while outside their home. All County, City, and Town employees are also required to wear face coverings under the same circumstances as the general public.
IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU DO NOT OBTAIN OR WEAR MEDICAL MASKS OR N-95 RESPIRATORS AS THEY ARE A NEEDED RESOURCE FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS.
Our healthcare workers and first responders on the front-line combating COVID-19 must have priority access to medical masks or other personal protective equipment. Face coverings do not need to be worn in the following circumstances:
• When exercising outside
• While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
• When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk
• While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment
• When consuming food or drink
Please note that face coverings are a secondary strategy to other mitigation efforts. Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing, frequent hand washing and self-isolation when sick. All people should follow CDC recommendations for how to wear and take off a mask. Residents should keep the following habits while in public:
• Washing hands before you leave home and when you return
• Staying at least six feet away from others
• Avoiding touching nose or face
• Not using disposable masks more than three times and
• Washing reusable cloth masks regularly to prevent the spread of the virus
Consistent with Executive Order GA-28 issued by Governor Greg Abbott, no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failure to wear a face covering.
(b) Every person in Texas shall, minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. People over the age of 65, however, are strongly encouraged to stay at home as much as possible; to maintain appropriate distance from any member of the household who has been out of the residence in the previous 14 days; and, if leaving the home, to implement social distancing and to practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation.
(c) Every individual should practice social distancing of at least six feet with people who are not in the same household. Individuals should avoid being in a group of 10 individuals (including those within the individual’s household). Within these groups, individuals should, to the extent possible, minimize in-person contact with others not in the individual’s household. Minimizing in-person contact includes maintaining six feet of separation from individuals. When maintaining 6 feet of separation is not feasible, other methods should be utilized to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a face covering or mask, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and avoiding sharing utensils or other common objects.
(d) Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s GA-26 allowed County Judges with 10 or fewer laboratory confirmed cases to provided attestation and Aransas County Judge Mills was approved to allow certain business listed below to increase their capacity levels from 50% to 75%. Executive Order GA-28 allows that to continue within the guidelines previously provided.
(e) All of the businesses identified in Section l.(f) - l.(p) are required to follow the minimum protocols set by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Phase III and any updates therein of The Governor’s Report to Open Texas.
(f) Effective June 3, 2020 all Barber Shops, Cosmetology Salons, Hair Salons, ail Salons, and Tanning Salons may operate provided they can ensure at least 6 feet social distancing between operating work stations along with the other requirements to include but not limited to: clients encouraged to wait outside or in vehicle, no additional people to attend with the client, and make hand sanitizer or washing station available.
(g) Effective June 3. 2020 all Adult Recreational Sports may operate and should maintain at least 6 feet social distancing from individuals. Outdoor Motorsport and Rodeo/Equestrian events may operate up to 75% of normal limits provided they facilitate appropriate social distancing. Individuals may engage in Outdoor Sports, provided they do not include contact with other participants and no more than 4 participants play the sport at any time.
(h) Effective June 26. 2020 People shall not visit bars or similar establishment that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and are not restaurants as defined by TABC; provided. However, that the use of such bars or similar establishments of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks is allowed to the extent authorized by TABC.
(i) Effective June 3, 2020 all Day Youth Camps, and Overnight Youth Camps should follow the Health and Safety Protocols updated and based on guidance from the CDC and/or American Academy of Pediatrics.
(j) Effective June 3. 2020 all Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcasting, Skating Rinks, Driving Schools, Gyms and Exercise Facilities, Manufacturers, Movie Theaters, Museums and Libraries, Restaurants, Retailers, Youth Clubs, Zoos, Aquariums, Natural Caverns, and Similar Facilities may operate up to 75% of the total listed occupancy.
(k) Effective June 3, 2020 employers may operate their offices with up to the greater of 10 individuals or 75% of the total office occupancy, provided they maintain appropriate social distancing.
(l) Effective June 3, 2020 while Parks, Beaches, Rivers, and Lakes may be open, Swimming Pools may operate up to 75% of capacity while meeting the minimum health protocols.
(m) Effective June 3, 2020 Wedding and Reception indoor venues are limited to 75% capacity while outside venues are not subject to occupancy limits.
(n) Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s GA-19 allows elective medical, surgical and dental procedures to continue with at least 15% of the hospital· s capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients.
(o) All public beaches, boat launches, boat ramps, bulkheads, docks, piers, and wharfs within the geographic boundaries of Aransas County, the city limits of Rockport, and the town limits of Fulton are now open.
(p) For any outdoor gathering in excess of 100 people, other than those set forth above in paragraph numbers (g), (i), (l), or (m) the gathering is prohibited unless the mayor of the city in which the gathering is held, or the county judge in the case of a gathering in an unincorporated area, approves of the gathering, and such approval can be made subject to certain conditions or restrictions not inconsistent with this or the Governor’s executive orders:
(q) Beginning May 4, the Aransas County Courthouse opened to the public with certain limitations. Please visit the website for information. The offices of the City of Rockport and Town of Fulton will remain closed to the public until further notice.
(r) Effective June 15, 2020 all City of Rockport parks will be open to the public with reduced hours and certain areas being roped off for safety and during multiple cleaning processes. All Town of Fulton parks are open with limited equipment as a safety precaution.
(s) There is no curfew at this time.
2. Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities are instructed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation.
3. Additionally, the Offices of the Aransas County Judge, Mayor of Rockport, and Mayor of Fulton, instructs all employees to remain at home if sick, and to promptly communicate with an appropriate health care professional.
4. From the date of this Executive Order, all commercial entities in Aransas County providing goods or services directly to the public must require, at a minimum, that all employees and visitors to the commercial entity’s business premises or other facilities wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public where six feet of separation is not feasible. This Executive Order may also include the implementation of other mitigating measures designed to control and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 such as temperature checks or health screenings. Businesses are required to post their Health and Safety Policy (located on the CDC website or at www.openTexas.gov) required by this Executive Order in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements. A sample Health and Safety Policy and signage containing the minimum requirements of this order is attached as Exhibit A and may be used by a commercial entity as its own Health and Safety Policy, and it can include recommended requirements in the Governor’s health minimum standard protocols applicable to each business type, and additional requirements as determined by each individual business.
5. This Order shall be effective until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law.
6. The County of Aransas, City of Rockport, and the Town of Fulton must promptly provide copies of this Order by posting in front of their respective posting locations, posting on their respective websites and to provide a copy to any member of the public asking for a copy. 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 onsite. 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.
7. This Order of Aransas County Judge C.H. Burt Mills, Jr., Rockport Mayor Patrick R. Rios, and Fulton Mayor Kelli Cole applies to all incorporated and unincorporated areas of their respective County/City/Town. To the extent of a conflict between decisions of Aransas County Judge C.H. Burt Mills, Jr., and a Mayor of any city within the geographic boundaries of Aransas County, the decisions set forth in this Order prevail (to the fullest extent allowed by law pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 418. l 08(h).
8. A violation of this Order to Stay At Home is a violation of the emergency management plans of Aransas County, the City of Rockport, and the Town of Fulton. A violation by any person of any provision of this Order to Stay At Home is punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation and separate day of violation, and additional amount as authorized by law. A second offense after warning in which intent to commit all elements of an act prohibited herein is proven may result in a fine of up to$ 1,000 per violation.
(Sample Policy and Signage)
HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY
POLICY. The virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to others by infected persons who have few or no symptoms. Because of the hidden nature of this threat, it is the policy of this business to require the following:
1. FACE COVERING REQUIRED IN ORDER TO ENTER PREMISES. All persons over the age often (10), including employees, customers, visitors, invitees, and contractors (“Patrons”), who enter this business must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief.
2. The requirement of a face covering does not apply if covering the nose and mouth poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk, such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
3. SOCIAL DISTANCING PROTOCOLS. Even with the use of appropriate face coverings, individuals should maintain six feet of social distancing whenever possible.
a.) Employees should not work within six (6) feet of one another, except to the extent necessary to provide services.
b.) Patrons should maintain six (6) feet of separation from other individuals outside their household, to the extent feasible when inside the business premises.
c.) Patrons of the business queuing or waiting inside or on the premises of the business must maintain six (6) feet of separation from other individuals.
4. VIOLATIONS. Patrons who do not wear a face covering may be asked to leave the premises and may not be provided goods or services until the face covering requirements are followed.
5. NOTICE AND SIGN AGE. Notice of this Health and Safety Policy will be posted in a conspicuous location of the business.