NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Nacogdoches County Judge Greg Sowell and Nacogdoches Mayor Shelley Brophy have amended orders which put both jurisdictions under stay-at-home orders.
The order is effective as of noon on Monday, March 30.
The order comes in response to recommendations from local medical professionals after evidence of potential community spread, according to a joint press release. A county health physician called the effort “medically necessary.”
The order states all individuals in Nacogdoches County “are to stay home," with some exceptions for essential travel to
“I don’t take this decision lightly or without considerable forethought to how it will affect our community,” said Sowell. “We’re at the point where only stringent measures to maximize social distancing will combat the spread of this virus. We can not allow our hospitals and healthcare workers to be overwhelmed.”
Those who fail to comply face a fee of up to $10,000 or a jail sentence up to 180 days.
The order will last until April 7 or otherwise directed by Nacogdoches County officials.
Brophy issued a similar executive order for the town’s residents Sunday. All Nacogdoches residents are ordered to “shelter at their place of residence" from noon on Monday, March 30 to 11: 59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7. People should only leave their homes or residences for essential activities, essential government functions, or to operate essential businesses.
“Individuals who are experiencing homelessness are exempt from this section, but are strongly urged to obtain shelter, and entities are strongly urged to make such shelter available as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable, and to utilize social distancing in their operations,” the executive order states.
The executive order also requires that all businesses other than those deemed as essential businesses are required to cease all operations at buildings and facilities located within the City of Nacogdoches. Businesses that consist solely of employees or contractors working at their own homes may continue operating.
“All essential businesses are encouraged to determine essential staff necessary to operate and send non-essential staff home,” the executive order states. “To the greatest extent feasible, essential businesses shall comply with social distancing requirements as defined below, including but not limited to when any customers are standing in line.”
In addition, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or residence are banned. The order does not prohibit members from a household or living unit from gathering.
Nacogdoches residents will only be allowed to travel to perform essential activities, the executive order states.
The executive order defines essential activities as those necessary for the health and safety of Nacogdoches residents and their families like picking up medical supplies or medicine, visiting a health care professional, or getting the supplies they need to work from home. People may also leave their homes or places of residence to get groceries and supplies or to deliver those supplies to other people.
Nacogdoches residents are also allowed to do outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, and cycling as long as they maintain social distancing. They also allowed to go to and from work at an essential business and care for a family member or a pet in another household.
“However, people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick are urged to stay in their residence to the extent possible, except as necessary to seek medical care.," the executive order states.
For an overview of the executive orders from Sowell and Brophy, click here.