SECOND ORDER RELATING TO LARGE EVENTS AND MASS GATHERINGS UNDER LOCAL STATE OF DISASTER
This Second Order is adopted on this the 18TH day of March, 2020 to be effective as of the date and time set out herein.
Bill Gravell, Jr., Williamson County Judge
WHEREAS, on March 14, 2020, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, Jr. issued a proclamation declaring a local state of disaster for Williamson County, Texas after making a determination based on statements and information provided to him by the Office of the Texas Governor, Williamson County Emergency Management personnel, the Williamson County and Cities Health District, health professionals and other emergency services agencies serving Williamson County, Texas, and other health agencies serving the State of Texas that extraordinary measures had to be taken in order to limit the development, contraction and spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Williamson County, Texas; and
WHEREAS, on March 15, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance and a statement that large events and mass gatherings such as conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend such events and introduce the virus to new communities; and
WHEREAS, the CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, has recommended that for the next eight (8) weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of fifty (50) people or more throughout the United States and for events of any size to only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing; and the CDC stated that its recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses; and
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, Jr. issued an Order Relating to Large Events and Mass Gatherings Under Local State of Disaster wherein large events or mass gatherings such as conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other types of assemblies of fifty (50) people or more were prohibited from being held in Williamson County, Texas until May 11, 2020 or until otherwise terminated sooner or extended by action of the County Judge or Williamson County Commissioners Court; and
WHEREAS, the conditions necessitating declaration of a local state of disaster continue to exist in Williamson County, Texas in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 418.108(g) of the Texas Government Code, a county judge may control the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in a disaster area; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 418.108(h) of the Texas Government Code, the jurisdiction and authority of a county judge to control the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in a disaster area includes the incorporated and unincorporated areas of a county and to the extent of a conflict between decisions of a county judge and a mayor, the decision of the county judge prevails; and
.WHEREAS, large gatherings of unidentifiable individuals without necessary mitigation for the spread ofinfection of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to pose a risk for the spread of infectious disease; and
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, President Donald J. Trump acknowledged the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing strict new guidelines to limit people's interactions, including that Americans should avoid gathering in groups of more than ten (10) people; and
NOW, THEREFORE PURSUANT TO AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TEXAS DISASTER ACT OF TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 418, BE IT ORDERED BY THE COUNTY JUDGE OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS THAT:
Section 1. That the findings and recitations set out in the preamble to this Second Order Relating to Large Events and Mass Gatherings Under Local State of Disaster ("Second Order") are found to be true and correct and they are hereby adopted by the Williamson County Judge and made a part hereof for all purposes.
Section 2. This Second Order rescinds and replaces the prior Order Relating to Large Events and Mass Gatherings Under Local State of Disaster issued by Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, Jr. on March 16, 2020.
Section 3. Pursuant to Section 418.108(g) of the Texas Government Code, there shall be no public or private "Community Gathering", as defined in Section 4 below, in Williamson County, Texas.
Section 4. Definitions, Exceptions and Clarifications:
- For purposes of this Second Order, a "Community Gathering" is any indoor or outdoor event or convening, subject to the exceptions and clarifications below, that brings together or is likely to bring together ten (10) or more people at the same time in a single room or other single indoor or outdoor confined or enclosed space.
b.For clarity, a "Community Gathering" includes, but is not limited to weddings, religious services or activities, concerts, parties, funerals, sporting events, social events, conferences, reunions, service club meetings, fundraisers and other similar gatherings that bring together or that are likely to bring together ten (10) or more people at the same time in a single room or other single indoor or outdoor confined or enclosed space.
- Except as specifically set out herein as to food establishments and holders of beverage permits, this Second Order does not apply to gatherings of people at the following facilities:
- private business facilities (i.e. non-profit and for-profit businesses, commercial offices, grocery stores, retail stores, personal service businesses, professional offices, home improvement/hardware stores, etc.)
- construction sites;
- daycare facilities, childcare facilities and facilities of any kind providing child watch services;
- schools and institutes of higher learning;
- hospitals, health clinics, pharmacies, medical offices and other healthcare facilities.
For purposes of this Second Order, "grocery stores" includes warehouse stores, big-box stores, bodegas, gas stations, farmers' markets and other establishments that sell food products and household staples.
In the above mentioned facilities, the Williamson County Judge and the Williamson County and Cities Health District strongly encourage compliance with the recommendations of the CDC and healthcare provisions including social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and tissues, and increasing cleaning of commonly and :frequently touched surfaces.
Section 5. Food establishments are ORDERED to close common dining areas open to the public during the effective period of this Second Order and are encouraged to provide take-away or no contact delivery food service designed to limit exposure between individuals.
Section 6. The holder of a wine and beer retailer's permit or mixed beverage permit (collectively ''bar") is ORDERED to close common indoor and outdoor bar spaces open to the public and is PROHIBITED from allowing consumption on the bar premises during the effective period of this Second Order.
Section 7. Pursuant to Section 418.108(h) of the Texas Government Code, this Second Order shall control the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in Williamson County, Texas and includes the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Williamson County, Texas; and to the extent of a conflict between this Second Order and any decisions of a Mayor of municipality in Williamson County, Texas, the orders set out herein of the Williamson County Judge shall prevail.
Section 8. This Second Order shall be effective as of 6:00 PM on March 18, 2020 and continuing until May 11, 2020, unless otherwise extended or terminated by the Williamson County Judge or by action of the Williamson County Commissioners Court.
Section 9. This Second Order will be posted on Williamson County's website at wilco.org. In addition, the owner, manager, or operator of any facility that is likely to be impacted by this Second Order is strongly encouraged to post a copy of this Second Order onsite and to provide a copy to any member of the public asking for a copy.
Section 10. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Second 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 invalidate or render unenforceable any other subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word hereof, but rather this entire Second Order will be construed as if not containing the particular invalid or unenforceable subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word, and the obligation set in this Second Order shall be construed and enforced in accordance therewith.
Section 11. As authorized by Section 418.173 of the Texas Government Code and as adopted in Williamson County's Emergency Management Plan, a failure to comply with the Williamson County Emergency Management Plan or with any rule, order or ordinance adopted under said plan shall be a criminal offense punishable by a fine that does not exceed $1,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days. The Williamson County Sheriffs Office, Williamson County Constables, Williamson County Fire Marshal's Office, and other licensed peace officers are hereby authorized to enforce this order and orders referenced herein.