Saying that Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that all Texans should stay at home was good enough, Kerrville Mayor Bill Blackburn said all residents should heed the governor’s orders, but that the city would not take action beyond Abbott’s executive orders from Tuesday night.
THE KEY MOMENT
“Do your part by staying apart,” said Blackburn, who also noted that there were many people who were not heeding that advice in Kerrville. Blackburn said that during a 10:30 a.m. live broadcast and webcast at Kerrville City Hall. Standing behind him was Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly.
WHAT DIDN’T HAPPEN?
Blackburn said that Abbott’s decision supersedes actions that could be taken at the local level, because the governor clarified on Wednesday night that was indeed a “stay-at-home order” for non-essential workers.
“It is a stay-at-home order,” Blackburn said of Abbott's order.
When Abbott made that decision, Blackburn said the city would follow the orders, but not impose anything more stringent than what the governor ordered. Some had argued that there should be a tougher order for Kerr County.
NO CURFEWS AND NO LOCKDOWNS
The city and county could have imposed these if they felt the need, but they did not take that action. Both Blackburn and Kelly have said publicly they were worried about the impact on local business with a shelter-in-place order.
OTHER KEY NEWS
Peterson Health CEO Cory Edmondson said 84 people were screened for coronavirus at Peterson facilities, and just the one test came back positive. That person was a Peterson employee who had traveled outside of Texas.
“Stay at home, be responsible for what you do as an individual,” Edmondson said. “It's not about you, it's about others … It's for a short period of time for a window of great opportunity."
Edmondson said the Peterson employee who tested positive is recovering.
WHAT DID THE GOVERNOR SAY EXACTLY ABOUT STAYING AT HOME?
“With COVID-19 spreading across Texas I issued this Executive Order that requires all Texans to stay at home except to provide essential services or do essential things like go to the grocery store,” Abbott said during a video on Wednesday. “Now I know this is a great sacrifice, and we must respond to this challenge with strength and with resolve.”
Abbott’s order is specific in what’s non-essential and they are:
Eating/Drinking Inside of Bars/Restaurants/Food Courts.
That’s a pretty long list, but in general its:
Health care workers
Public safety and emergency medical workers
Food and agriculture (which includes grocery workers)
Energy, which includes electricity, oil and gas, liquid fuels and natural gas
Water and wastewater
Transportation and logistics
Public works and infrastructure support services (construction)
Communication and information technology
Other community or government-based operations and essential functions
Critical manufacturing, Kerrville’s All-Plastics is an example.
Defense industrial base
Residential and shelter facilities and services
Hygiene products and services
There are also a ton of loopholes in this list as well.
There have been some questions to the newspaper about getting a pet groomed during this period, and it can be argued that as long as that establishment sells pet supply products and food it’s OK. You probably can’t get your haircut, but your dog can.
WHAT ABOUT CHURCH?
Some were confused by this order when Gov. Abbott issued it on Tuesday, but Attorney General Ken Paxton came up with very clear guidance on Wednesday. Here’s what he says:
For example, a church may hold Easter services in its parking lot, with attendees remaining in their cars (windows down), parked in every other parking spot, with the minister using amplification to preach. Or because Executive Order GA 14 permits drive-thrus to operate, then a house of worship may, according to their faith practices, provide communion or a blessing through a similar drive-up service. Or pastors with smaller congregations may consider conducting multiple services of 10 people or fewer in their sanctuaries, so long as they maintain appropriate social distancing, properly sanitize the building between each service, and provide hand sanitizer.