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Shelter-in-place enacted after three additional cases confirmed in Young County – Graham Leader


The city of Graham held a special emergency meeting of the city council Monday in order to enact a shelter-in-place order which was approved to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The shelter-in-place order will be in effect from 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 until 3 p.m. April 14 and Graham Mayor Neal Blanton said the council can reconvene to extend the two-week order before that time. In the order it states the because of the rapid spread of the virus the city is attempting to protect the most vulnerable members of the community in order to “ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, and the desire to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.”

Blanton said at 3 p.m. Monday, March 30, City Manager Brandon Anderson, Young County Judge John Bullock, Young County Health Authority Dr. Pat Martin and Graham Regional Medical Center CEO Shane Kernell held a conference call to discuss the fact that the county had three additional positive cases of COVID-19 on top of the confirmed case last Tuesday.

“In the discussion, a lot was brought up about compliance and whether or not people were adhering to the rules and regulations that the judge and I set down for previously and that the governor had set down and there was a concern from a doctor’s standpoint,” Blanton said. “A lot of the doctors in the community were sitting in on this conference call were discussing the additional ones that were tested positive. One of them had traveled from outside of the United States, one of them had had contact with the previous one (from Tuesday) that had tested positive, but the thing that caused them the most concern was an individual that tested positive that had not been out of town, had not been out of the country and had not been in contact with any of those previously identified as positive.”

Blanton said the recommendation of the doctors was a shelter-in-place order in order to slow the curve of positive cases and for the community to adhere to the social distancing requirements. City Attorney Dan De La Cruz and Anderson worked to pen the document which will go into place on Tuesday night.

“How quickly things change,” Anderson said. “Friday, obviously, we did the Facebook Live and we wanted to try to get everybody to self comply, that was our goal instead of ordering this shelter-in-place, however, there was some discussion about possibly groups continuing to meet. Groups that were made aware that they should be quarantined that still had birthday parties and different things, maybe working out together and it’s very, very important that the concern now, especially with this one that gives us the most concern that could be the possible of a community spread, is the fact that maybe we haven’t taken these precautions serious enough. And the other thing that really is a concern of the doctors is, when you go shopping make sure health is your paramount subject. Go in (with) one person from your family. Go and respect your social distancing when you are in the stores.”

In the order it states that it is based on evidence of more COVID-19 occurrences within the city and throughout central Texas and based on the “scientific evidence and best practices regarding the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable diseases generally and COVID-19 specifically, the evidence that the age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population of the City places it at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19.”

The order states that individuals who contract COVID-19 have no symptoms or mild symptoms and may not be aware they are a carrier of the virus contributes to the severeness of the order. In order to stop the spread the order is restricting certain aspects within the city.

“As long as this Order is in effect, all individuals anywhere in the City of Graham are required to shelter in place, except to perform certain essential activities, or to perform work in or obtain services from an Essential Business, Essential Government Service, or in Critical Infrastructure,” the order states.

Critical Infrastructure

Critical infrastructure includes but is not limited to the following:
    •    Banking and financial institutions;
    •    Transit and transit facilities, transportation services, equipment and facilities;
    •    Power, water, telecommunications, natural gas, and public utilities;
    •    Critical manufacturing, including components for primary metals, machinery, electrical equipment and components, health and safety products and equipment, and transportation
equipment;
    •    Auto and vehicle parts manufacturing and assembly plants;
    •    Technology manufacturing companies;
    •    Information and communications, including press;
    •    Emergency services;
    •    Public health and medical services;
    •    Fire and law enforcement;
    •    Public works;
    •    Agriculture and food;
    •    Airport facilities and operations;
    •    Sanitation services;
    •    Other city government buildings or facilities, as designated by the city manager; construction, including public works construction, and construction of affordable housing or housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, social services construction, and other construction that supports essential uses, including essential businesses, government functions, or critical infrastructure, or otherwise as required in response to this public health emergency;
    •    Personnel and industries identified in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (“CISA”) Essential Critical Infrastructure
Workforce Memorandum dated March 19, 2020, to continue their operation appropriately modified to account for CDC workforce and consumer protection guidance.

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Recommendations for Employees

Employees who work in and around critical infrastructure should refrain from reporting to work when falling within any of the following criteria and should follow the initial self-quarantine recommendations: has signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat; has a fever greater than 99.6°F; in the previous 14 days has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and did not have the appropriate personal protective equipment designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); is under investigation for COVID-19; or is ill with a respiratory illness; or has traveled to an area the World Health Organization or CDC considers a “Hotspot.”

The requirements for employers can be found under Number 4 or Exhibit B in the full ordinance found on the city of Graham Facebook page.

Anderson asked the community to read the digital version of the ordinance online and if there are any questions to contact the city before the ordinance goes into place Tuesday at midnight.

Order Detailed

This order is for all individuals currently living within the city of Graham to shelter at their place of residence except as outlined below.

Individuals sharing an outdoor space are to maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person. All persons may leave their residences only to perform certain essential activities, to perform work in or obtain services from an essential business, essential government service, or in critical infrastructure, or to engage in essential travel or minimum basic operations.

In this order all non-essential business and operations must cease. All businesses or operations with a facility in the city of Graham, except essential businesses and essential government functions, as defined below, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the City. The only exception would be to perform minimum basic operations, as explained below.

For clarity, businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (working from home).

All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or dwelling unit are prohibited under this order, except for the limited purposes as expressly permitted. Nothing in this shelter in place prohibits the gathering of members of a household or dwelling unit.

All travel, including travel on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit, is prohibited except for purposes of essential travel, performing essential activities or going to work in an essential business, government facility, or critical infrastructure. To the greatest extent feasible, people riding on public transit shall comply with social distancing requirements.

Travel Restrictions

Graham residents may travel, but on a limited basis. This includes the travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.

This travel restriction includes travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, or any other related services. Individuals are allowed to travel to retain from or to a place of residence from outside Graham. Travel is allowed if it is required by law enforcement or court order. The travel of church staff or clergy for the purpose of producing remote delivery of religious services or other ministries requiring travel. Travel is allowed for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the city of Graham.

Residents of Graham may leave their house for essential activities, but are urged to stay in their residence as much as possible.

Essential activities include for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity, for certain types of work and to take care of others.

For health and safety, individuals are allowed to engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety. This also includes the health and safety of their family to work for or obtain services at any healthcare operation.

For necessary supplies and services, individuals may obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family. This includes groceries, supplies needed for work or home and supplies to maintain the safety and sanitation of the home.

For outdoor activity, individuals may go outside for outdoor activities. This includes walking, biking, hiking or running. In this individuals are to comply with social distancing requirements. The use of public playgrounds, picnic tables, basketball courts and other public sports and recreational equipment are prohibited.

For certain types of work, an individual may go to work if they are providing an essential product or service at an essential business, government service or critical infrastructure.

For individuals taking care of others, this includes family members or pets in another household.

Essential Businesses

    •    Healthcare Operations
This includes but is not limited to caregivers, hospital and laboratory personnel and pharmacy employees, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, and related retail sales or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. Healthcare operations include veterinary care and all healthcare and life-saving services provided to animals. This does not include fitness and exercise gyms.
    •    Stores that sell groceries and certain other essential supplies
Grocery stores, supermarkets, big-box stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores, liquor stores and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences. Essential supplies do not include the sale of grasses, plants, flowers or trees, and these items are prohibited from being sold by any business.
    •    Food Cultivation
    •    Social Services and Charitable Organizations
Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.
    •    News Media
    •    Gas Station and Businesses Needed for Transportation
This includes auto-manufacturing and assembly, auto mechanics, auto-supply, auto-repair, and other related facilities.
    •    Financial Institutions
Banks and related financial institutions, consumer lenders, sales and finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, pawn shops, entities that issue bonds, insurance companies, underwriters, agents, brokers, and related insurance claims and agents.
    •    Hardware and Supply Stores
    •    Critical Trades
Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, pool cleaners, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities, Essential Businesses, essential Government Functions, or Critical Infrastructure, including but not limited to utilities such as electricity, gas, water and wastewater, and other public works.
    •    Mail and Delivery Services
    •    Laundry Services
    •    Restaurants for Consumption Off-Premises
Restaurants are allowed to prepare and serve food or alcohol, but only for delivery, drive-through, or carry out. All individuals who obtain food or beverages from these establishments are required to leave the premises of said establishment within five minutes of receiving their food or beverage. Premises of these establishments includes all indoor and outdoor facilities, including parking lots. Individuals shall not consume food or beverages on the premises of any establishment regulated under this subsection. Truck drivers holding CDL licenses and who are operating a semi-tractor-trailer truck for commercial purposes are exempt from the food requirements of this subsection while they are on the premises of any truck stop or travel center. Said truck drivers are limited to eating only in their semi-trucks while on said premises. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site.
    •    Supplies to Work from Home
Supplies for Essential Businesses, Critical Infrastructure and Essential Government Functions
Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses, Critical Infrastructure, and essential  government Functions with the support, supplies, or components necessary to operate, including but not limited to computers, audio and video electronics, microelectronics, semiconductors, hardware, paint, electrical and plumbing material, sanitary equipment, medical equipment, and food and beverages.
    •    Food Delivery Services
Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences
    •    Transportation
Aircraft, taxis, and other private transportation providers (such as Uber and Lyft) that provide transportation services necessary for the performance of essential activities, essential Businesses, Critical Infrastructure, Essential Government Functions, or Essential Travel.
    •    Home-Based Care and Services
This includes caregivers who may travel to provide care.
    •    Residential Facilities and Shelters
This includes shelters for animals.
    •    Professional Services
Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, and insurance services when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities or to further
Essential Businesses, essential Government functions, or Critical Infrastructure.
    •    Real Estate Services
Real Estate companies are allowed to perform property management services and are allowed to finalize closing activities for all real estate contracts in existence as of March 27, 2020. Services do not include accepting new real estate listings or showing any real estate listing.
    •    Lawn Maintenance Services
Lawn services are limited to the mowing of weeds and grass and to the emergency removal of trees that pose a health and safety hazard.
    •    Automobile Dealerships
Car dealerships may provide repairs and parts services. Car dealers may remain open only for individuals who need to purchase vehicles to perform essential functions and travel and for businesses that need vehicles for essential business and essential government services. Showrooms are to be open to such individuals by appointment only.
    •    Information Technology Services
IT and IT services and their essential services vendors, including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, web-based services, and critical manufacturing, as well as telecommunications services, internet access, and broadband/communications services.
    •    Moving Supply Services
Businesses that provide rental and/or commercial moving services and necessary moving supplies.
    •    Hotels and Motels
Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging or delivery or carry-out food services.
    •    Funeral, mortuary, cremation, burial cemetery and related services
Provided that social distancing of six feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible and no more than ten (10) persons are present during the activity.
    •    Educational Institutions
Educational institutions-including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing other essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible
    •    Childcare Facilities
Childcare facilities providing services that enable individuals exempted in this Order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions; Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 10 or fewer children are in the same group each day); Children shall not change from one group to another; If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other. Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.

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Minimum Basic Operations

Provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations: 1. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; or  The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business
being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

Essential Travel

Graham residents may travel, but on a limited basis. Individuals may travel related to the provision of or access to essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses, critical Infrastructure, or minimum basic operations. This includes the travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.

This travel restriction includes travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, or any other related services. Individuals are allowed to travel to retain from or to a place of residence from outside Graham. Travel is allowed if it is required by law enforcement or court order. The travel of church staff or clergy for the purpose of producing remote delivery of religious services or other ministries requiring travel. Travel is allowed for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the city of Graham.

The Shelter in Place order lists residences that include single family homes, multiple family homes, hotels, motels, shared rental units, and similar facilities.

Social Distancing Requirements were set in the Shelter in Place order. This is maintaining at least a six-foot distance from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.

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Enforcement

For individuals that fail to comply with this order are considered an imminent threat to public health. Graham Police Department, Young County Sheriff’s Office, and other Texas peace officers, are authorized to enforce this order. A violation of the shelter in place may be punishable through criminal or civil enforcement. A violation shall be a misdemeanor and the penalty for violating this order can cost between $1 and $1,000, or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days.

“This is serious and this is something that we need to take serious and we felt like now in three days and the way that has escalated from one (case) to four, we would love for people to take this serious because we don’t want to have to come back in three days and say it has gone from four to 12, and that is the concern the doctors have that this is how it starts,” Anderson said. “It will go one to four, four to 12, 12 to 36 and can quickly escalate, so please take this shelter at home serious.”

Anderson and Blanton said they were not made aware if the new cases were displaying symptoms, but all of the cases were in quarantine. De La Cruz said he consulted other colleagues in the North Texas area when drafting the document and said it may possibly be a little less restrictive in some way and easier for people to comply by comparison. Anderson said one thing he wanted to address regarding the regulation was that some things are going to remain the same under the shelter-in-place order.

“There is no difference in a shelter-in-place and the current restrictions that we have for a restaurant,” Anderson said. “I will tell you it is defined in here what an essential business and a non-essential business are and essential businesses are allowed to maintain business as usual, obviously with certain health standards that we hope those employers are implementing on a daily basis, but there are some businesses that are deemed non-essential and being told to close during this time.”

Blanton said he hopes the seriousness of the order will give people enough incentive to follow the guidelines.

“A lot this we hope that people take it serious (…) just by the fact that this is serious and we are serious about enforcing it and that really is probably the most important thing is that everybody understands that we will enforce this,” Blanton said.

Young County Commissioner Court is meeting tomorrow at the Young County Courthouse and Judge Bullock said he feels more inclined with the suggestion of the doctors to enforce a shelter-in-place across the county.

“Obviously, I really don’t want to, but I feel the need because of the advice we have been given because of the medical community,” Bullock said. “I am relying on them, really more than I am anybody and the advice that they give. Sometimes you want to think that they overreach a little bit, but it would be a whole lot better to overreach than it would be to under-reach.”





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