Coronavirus (COVID 19) Helpful Information

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Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order, Implements Statewide Essential Services And Activities Protocols

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The Governor’s Executive Order renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services.

Today’s Executive Order follows the decision by President Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance social distancing guidelines and extend the deadline for these guidelines to April 30th.

Governor Abbott was joined for the announcement by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, and Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath.

“Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” said Governor Abbott. “Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve. As with all the actions the state is taking, the Essential Services and Activities Protocols is informed by the expertise and guidance of the CDC as well as state and local health officials. I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them. By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.”

The Executive Order renews and expands the Governor’s previous directive to minimize social gatherings and minimize contact with people who are not in the same household. It also renews the Governor’s directive to avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, and visiting gyms or massage establishments, and it expands the order to include tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons.

In accordance with federal guidelines, people are still prohibited from visiting nursing home, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance. Additionally, schools will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 4, 2020.

This Executive Order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The order also includes exemption for religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.

TDEM will maintain an online list of essential services specified in the Governor’s Executive Order at www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices/. Other essential services may be added to this list with the approval of TDEM.

These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 12:01 AM on April 2, 2020 and will end on April 30, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.

CLARIFICATION REGARDING EXECUTIVE ORDER BY GOVERNOR ABBOTT
EFFECTIVE APRIL 2, 2020
AND ITS EFFECT ON THE 3rd COVID-19-RELATED ORDER BY THE HAYS COUNTY JUDGE

Governor Greg Abbott executed an Executive Order on the afternoon of March 31, 2020. That Order becomes effective on April 2, 2020. For the first time since the emergency response to COVID-19 began, the Governor’s Order provides that the Governor’s Order will supersede local Orders by county judges and/or mayors, at least “to the extent that such a local order restricts essential services allowed by [the Governor’s Order] or allows gatherings prohibited by [the Governor’s Order].” The Governor’s Order runs until the end of April, except that it prohibits in-person classroom schooling until May 4, 2020.

After analyzing the contents of the Governor’s Order, the 3rd Order of the Hays County Judge is effectively superseded by the Governor’s Order, especially since the Governor’s Order identifies a more detailed and comprehensive list of Essential Services. The Governor refers to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0 as the guide for what qualifies as Essential Services, but it also adds religious services to that list. He also provides for the possibility of businesses requesting to be added to the list by emailing the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) at EssentialServices@tdem.texas.gov.

Commentary on the Department of Homeland Security guidance (the list of Essential Services) can be found at: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce.

The Governor’s Order still prohibits visitation of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and it still forbids use of bars, restaurants, gyms, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, or cosmetology salons, except that it encourages take-out and/or delivery of food and drinks.

Even though some of the detailed guidance in the Hays County Judge’s most recent Order will no longer control, it is important to remember that Governor’s Order does indicate that businesses and citizens should follow the Guidelines from the President and the CDC. The homepage for CDC guidance on COVID-19 can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Additionally, and in support of the CDC Guidelines, Hays County urges those who qualify to operate under Governor Abbott’s Order to continue conducting business in such a way that patrons (and employees) are not made to remain within six feet of one another and groups of more than ten people are not made to congregate in one confined space.

Per Governor Abbott, the penalty for violations of his Order is up to $1,000 fine and/or up to 180 days in jail, which is a greater penalty than that which was set in the Hays County Judge’s now inapplicable Orders.

What is the City of Buda doing in response to the coronavirus?

MAYOR HAEHN AMENDS ORDER TO MATCH HAYS COUNTY ORDER
 RE-OPENS DAYCARE CENTERS FOR ESSENTIAL STAFF

Mayor George Haehn has amended his previous order that closed daycare centers in Buda. The amended order mirrors the current “Stay Home, Work Safe” order put in to place by Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra. After consulting with the City Attorney, it was determined that in the event of any conflict between the orders of the county judge and mayor, the orders of the county judge prevail. Mayor Haehn’s order, along with Hays County’s order, runs through April 10.

Mayor Haehn Amended Order - March 27, 2020 

Under Judge Becerra’s order day care facilities that serve essential workers can remain open, with restrictions on how they operate in order to help ensure children and employees do not spread the virus.

See childcare service restrictions in “Section 4, viii” of Hays County Stay Home, Stay Safe order: Stay Home, Work Safe Order 

While Hays County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order allows for day care facilities to remain open with restrictions, the decision to open or close is up to individual daycare owners.        

Mayor Haehn’s amended order also asks retailers to implement one-way aisles in their establishments to help with customer flow, overcrowding, and observation of the 6-foot social distancing recommendations by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Businesses will need to mark the floor at six-foot intervals at registers or other areas where lines are formed. In addition, all doors used for the general public should be situated in a way that customers do not have to touch the door entering or exiting the business.

“I met with as many of our local retailers as possible and greatly appreciate their cooperation in keeping everyone safe. A week ago, we had 6 positive COVID-19 cases in Hays County. That number has since doubled and will likely continue to increase. It is important that we continue to work as a community to prevent further spread of the virus in Buda and Hays County and prevent our hospitals and medical professionals from being overwhelmed with patients.”

As mentioned previously, all sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skateparks, water fountains and other facilities are closed to the public until further notice. Trails and green spaces remain open, but please practice social distancing guidelines and keep six feet of space between yourself and others who do not live in your same household. The same rules apply for HOA managed and private parks facilities.           

“My amended order is designed to protect the health and welfare of our citizens, while balancing their ability to live and work.”

For additional clarification on Hays County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order please visit Hays County’s website here:  https://hayscountytx.com/questions-from-residents-about-judges-3rd-order-answered/

You can also visit http://haysinformed.com/.

For non-emergency questions about COVID-19 please call the Hays County COVID-19 Hotline at 512-393-5525.

For City of Buda information on COVID-19 please visit ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.    Why did the Mayor issue Order Number 1?

The Mayor had previously issued a Local Disaster Declaration for Buda related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hays County issued Order No. 3 “Stay at Home, Work Safe” on March 25, 2020. The Mayor issued the new Buda order to be consistent with the Hays County Order and to reduce confusion. The new order also implements practices and best practices being implemented in other communities and/or to address situations unique to Buda.

2.    What does the order include?

It deletes the conditions that were included in the initial Disaster Declaration and makes the restrictions consistent with the Hays County order for community gatherings, occupancy of premises, day care facilities, restaurants, and essential businesses. Day care facilities are allowed to re-open to support staff of essential businesses in Buda.

3.    Are daycare facilities closed in Buda?

No. Daycare facilities may operate to provide services for essential personnel of essential businesses. The initial Disaster Declaration issued by the Mayor closed daycare facilities. However, the Mayor Order No. 1 suspends the closure and makes the rule consistent with Hays County. 

4.    Will the Buda Police Department pull me over if I am violating the “Stay at Home, Work Safe” order?

The Buda Police Department will not pull over vehicles as people are still free to travel to essential businesses for medical care, groceries and other necessary supplies. The Hays County Order has enacted a curfew from 11 pm through 4 am and other local law enforcement agencies will be enforcing this curfew.

5.    How are businesses impacted?

Please reference the Hays County Order No. 3 for a list of essential businesses. Essential businesses that remain open based on the Hays County order must implement one-way foot traffic and mark the floor at six-foot (6’) intervals at registers and other areas where lines are formed to ensure customers maintain safe distances from one another. The Order also implements requirements for doors so that customers do not have to touch door handles to enter or exit the business.

6.    Why are “one-way” aisles required in retail businesses? 

This requirement was included in the Order to help ensure that the CDC recommendation of 6’ social distancing is followed and that shoppers do not have to cross paths in shopping aisles. 

7.    Why do essential retail businesses have doors propped open?

The Mayor Order requires that essential retail businesses like grocery stores and gas stations must ensure that all doors into and out of the business for the general public are situated so that no customer has to touch the door to enter or exit. This is done to prevent the touching of common surfaces that could spread the virus.

8.    Are parks closed?

The Order closes sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skateparks, water fountains and other facilities of both City and private parks such as HOA parks. Trails and green spaces remain open. Visitor’s must observe the 6’ social distancing guidelines while in parks. The City may close other aspects of parks if the social distancing guidelines are not being followed.

9.    Can I have my garage sale that I was planning this weekend?

A garage sale does not meet the definition of an essential business outlined in the Hays County Order. It would not be allowed.

10.    Where can I learn more about the Hays County Order?

To view Hays County Order No. 3, visit: https://hayscountytx.com/download/commissioners_court/county_judge/COVID-Order-3.pdf

To view answers to frequently asked questions created by Hays County, visit: https://hayscountytx.com/questions-from-residents-about-judges-3rd-order-answered/

11.    What is the penalty for violating the Order?

Violating the Mayor Order No. 1 is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. If the offense constitutes an unlawful act relating to fire safety, zoning, or public health or sanitation, the fine may be up to $1,000 for each violation. 

For More Information:

You can also visit http://haysinformed.com/.

For non-emergency questions about COVID-19 please call the Hays County COVID-19 Hotline at 512-393-5525.

For City of Buda information on COVID-19 please visit ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation.

CITY OF BUDA SMALL BUSINESS TASK FORCE
DEVELOPS “STILL BUDAFUL” STIMULUS PROGRAM

BUDA, TX – April 8, 2020 - In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Buda City Council authorized the Still Budaful Stimulus Program to assist businesses negatively affected by the pandemic. The Still Budaful Stimulus is a local economic development program authorized under Chapter 380 of the Texas Local Government Code to help reduce the resulting economic strain on local businesses. On March 20, Buda City Council declared a local state of disaster. As a result, the pandemic caused closures and limitations on local businesses in Buda.  At that same meeting, Council appointed a Small Business Task Force to research ways to assist businesses during this time of need.

On April 6, 2020 members of the Buda Economic Development Corporation (Buda EDC) approved an Agreement for Funding of the Still Budaful Stimulus Program. On April 7, 2020 the Buda City Council also committed funds to this program. The total contributions between the City of Buda and Buda EDC amount to $380,000, allowing eligible businesses to apply for the following assistance programs:

  • Still Budaful Stimulus Grant
  • Hotel Occupancy Tax Payment Emergency Deferral + Forgiveness Program
  • Buda Emergency Co-Marketing Grant

About the Still Budaful Stimulus Grant:

The program funded between the City of Buda and the Buda EDC provides limited financial assistance to businesses severely impacted as a result of the ‘Stay at Home, Work Safe’ Order implemented by Hays County and the City of Buda to reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19. It provides $380,000 in government-funded grants for eligible small businesses that are independently owned and operated with a maximum of 50 employees. Eligible industries may include retail (storefront), food and beverage; personal care (barber shop, nail salons, spas, etc.), automobile maintenance, education training, health/wellness, art galleries and small manufacturing businesses. National chains, home-based businesses, non-profit organizations and permanent business closures are not eligible for the grant.  Additionally, businesses must meet the following criteria to receive up to $5,000 in grant funding.

Physical and publicly accessible location within the City of Buda city limits (no home-based businesses).

Experienced or projected to experience a decline in revenue and/or employment starting March 1, 2020 and ending at which time the government has allowed citizens to return to normal activity.

In good standing with the City of Buda regarding licensing and permits.

Must be registered with the Texas Comptroller’s Office as a sales tax revenue generating business for the City of Buda.

Engaged in activities that are legal under city and state law.

About the Hotel Occupancy Tax Payment Emergency Deferral + Forgiveness Program:

The program provides limited financial assistance to City of Buda hotels through the deferral and forgiveness of hotel occupancy tax payments to hotels severely impacted as a result of the ‘Stay at Home, Work Safe’ Order. The Program provides a 60-day deferral of hotel occupancy tax payments for March 20, 2020 and April 20, 2020, with an additional offering of forgiving up to $5,000 of deferred hotel occupancy tax payments. This program has an aggregate of $45,000 available for hotel occupancy tax forgiveness. Hotels must apply to be eligible. In addition, hotels must meet the following criteria:

  • Collects hotel occupancy tax for the City of Buda.
  • Experienced or projected to experience a decline in revenue between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Experienced or projected to experience a decline in employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In good standing with the City of Buda with regard to licensing and finance, including being current on sales and use tax payments.
  • Engaged in activities that are legal under city and state law.

About the Emergency Co-Marketing Grant Program:

The program, funded through Hotel Occupancy Tax, provides online marketing assistance to tourism-related businesses located within the City of Buda during a time of social distancing. Qualifying small businesses can be reimbursed for 100% of online marketing costs, up to $50 per month, for a maximum of two months to promote their businesses to new and existing customers inside and outside of Buda city limits. To qualify, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a registered business located within Buda City limits. Businesses located in the ETJ do not qual
  • Must be privately owned and must be in a tourism-service related industry to include retail, food, beverage, etc.
  • Advertisements must adhere to and support proper social distancing guidelines.
  • Qualifying advertisements are limited to social media, web and online marketing efforts.
  • Website creation is a qualifying expense and can be reimbursed up to the maximum amount of $100 at the time of the expense.
  • Qualifying advertisements may target potential customers in Buda but must primarily target potential customers from outside of Buda City Limits.
  • Advertising must promote tourism and meet the Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Code requirements:
    • The expenditure must directly enhance and promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry
    • Promote tourism in the City of Buda

In addition to the sub-programs available under the Still Budaful Stimulus Program, Buda City Council voted to waive food truck fees for the 2nd quarter. Food trucks must still register with the City of Buda to remain in compliance. City Council also waived credit card transaction fees, utility late fees and utility disconnects for two months.

Applications 

The Still Budaful Stimulus Program will officially launch on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 12 noon. Online applications will be available at that time: www.stillbudaful.org

About the Small Business Task Force:

The Task Force consists of: Buda City Council Member Evan Ture; City Manager of the City of Buda Kenneth Williams; Assistant City Manager for the City of Buda Lauren Middleton-Pratt; Finance Director for the City of Buda June Ellis; Director of Tourism for the City of Buda Lysa Gonzalez; Main Street Program Manager for the City of Buda Maggie Gillespie; Buda EDC Board President Jennifer Storm; Buda EDC Executive Director Traci Anderson; Buda Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director J.R. Gonzales; and City Attorney for the City of Buda George Hyde. Unlike the other members of the Task Force, Mr. Hyde reviews applications for legal compliance only.

Quotes from Small Business Task Force Members

“The Buda business community is motived, resourceful and dedicated to being successful. During this pandemic, local businesses are struggling to stay open and to take care of their employees. This stimulus grant will be crucial in assisting business get through this unforeseen crisis,” said J.R. Gonzales, Buda Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

“The Buda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is committed to expanding and promoting local business. During this time of social distancing the BEDC Board approved $210,000 toward the Still Budaful Stimulus Program which will provide grants to small businesses in Buda. Small business is the backbone of our community. Buda is and will continue to be a business-friendly community and this program proves that through good times and bad, the Buda EDC is here for Buda businesses,” said Jennifer Storm, Buda Economic Development Corporation Bord President.

“We applaud the bold leadership exhibited by City Council and our municipal partners during this time of economic uncertainty. We are committed to the citizens of Buda and it is our hope that this program can provide economic relief during this trying time,” said Lauren Middleton-Pratt, Assistant City Manager.

CITY OF BUDA
UTILITY LATE FEES/DISCONNECTS, CREDIT CARD TRANSACTIONS, MOBILE FOOD VENDOR FEES, AND INSPIRED MINDS ART CENTER

Utility Late Fees/Utility Disconnects Suspended for Two Months: As initially discussed at the March 20 City Council meeting, utility late fees and disconnects will be waived for the months of April and May. An ordinance was passed at the April 7 meeting to ratify the suspension of utility late fees and waive all utility disconnects for two months.

Credit Card Transaction Fees Waived: All in person or over the phone City-processed credit card transaction fees will be waived for two months beginning on April 8, 2020. The City processes and charges a $2.75 credit card transaction fee only on credit card transactions paid in person or over the phone. The City does not charge a transaction fee for online payments. However, the City’s financial software provider, Tyler Technologies, Inc., which hosts the website for city residents and businesses to make online payments, does collect its own online transaction fees. 

Mobile Food Vendor Fee Waived for One Quarter (April Through June 2020): In order to provide relief to the City’s mobile food vendors, the mobile food vendor fee paid by vendors who operate in Buda will be waived for April, May, and June. There is a quarterly $55 “hot fee” for mobile food vendors who operate or sell hot food for human consumption and a quarterly $45 “cold fee” for mobile food vendors who operate or sell cold food for human consumption.

Inspired Minds Art Center (IMAC):  At the March 20, 2020 Special Called City Council meeting, staff presented a request from the Inspired Minds Art Center to suspend the monthly license use fee due to the cancellation of classes because of COVID-19. The Inspired Minds Art Center opened in January 2020 after the City solicited requests for proposals to reuse the former City of Buda city hall located at 121 Main Street in downtown Buda. A public-private partnership was created with Inspired Minds, LLC. to assist with the City’s arts program. The Inspired Minds Art Center followed the City’s lead for city-sponsored events and suspended activity in mid-March because of COVID-19. On April 7, 2020, the City Council approved a two-month waiver of license use fees in the amount of $8,000.


CITY OF BUDA CONDUCTING BUSINESS VIRTUALLY
STARTING AT 5 P.M. THURSDAY, MARCH 19

To follow the social distancing guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD), as of 5:00 p.m. today (Thursday, March 19) all City offices will be conducting business virtually. This means there will no be walk-ins, with all business being done via telephone and computer.   

You can contact City Departments directly at the numbers below:
Public Works (512-312-2876)

Buda Police Department - Non-Emergency (512-393-7896)

Parks (512-523-1083)

Utility Billing (512-295-8845)

Municipal Court (512-295-2562)

Library (512-295-5899)

Planning, Permitting, and Engineering (512-312-5745)

Utility billing and municipal court payments may be paid online here: https://www.municipalonlinepayments.com/budatx. Additional ways to make utility payments include online through your bank, over the phone at 512-295-8845, and by mail to 405 E. Loop St., Building 100, Buda, Texas. Customers can also utilize the utility payment drop boxes at the front entrance of the building and near the library book drop. The utility billing e-mail that residents should use to communicate with utilities is utilitybilling@ci.buda.tx.us  

Municipal Court: Buda Municipal Court will be closed to the public starting March 20th. The decision is made in an effort limit the number of individuals gathering in a confined space to reduce the risks to public health. Although operations are closed to the public, individuals may still contact the Court by phone and email to get information and handle their cases; many options are available that do not require a personal appearance.

All court dockets are cancelled. Cases that are set on dockets will be rescheduled to a date after May 8th; individuals will be notified by mail of their new court date.

All individuals are encouraged to call 512-295-2562 or email the Court budamunicipalcourt@ci.buda.tx.us in lieu of making personal appearances to take care of their court business.

Park rentals, library programs and all City-sponsored events are suspended until further notice.  

Additional online resources: 

Permitting and Inspections: https://www.mygovernmentonline.org/

Licenses, Permits and Fees: http://ci.buda.tx.us/297/Applications-Licenses-Permits-Fees

You can view City Council meetings online here:
https://www.ci.buda.tx.us/390/Council-Board-Commission-Meetings---VIEW

For more information on Buda Library Services:

Buda Public Library Electronic Resources:  https://buda.biblionix.com/catalog/

Buda Public Library: www.budalibrary.org

Parks and Recreation Department Closures

Mayor Haehn has included neighborhood parks and private parks in the restrictions/closures.

following Federal, State and Local guidelines to limit the potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.  Implemented policies and procedures are in place to include:

  • Closure of all sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skatepark and facility reservations until further notice.
  • Cancel or postpone special events until further notice.
  • Trails and green spaces will remain open, unless otherwise directed by Federal, State or local authorities. 
  • Please respect social distancing while in the park system-trails, tables, etc.
  • Water fountains will not be available for use.
  • Green Meadows Splash Pad will have a delayed opening for the season.  Updates will be placed on our City website when available.

Please be safe and healthy during this time, if you have any questions please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 512-523-1081.

City of Buda Extends Disaster Declaration

BUDA, TX - March 20, 2020 – The Buda City Council voted today (March 20, 2020) in a special meeting to extend the disaster declaration issued by Mayor George Haehn on March 13 until further notice.

Amended Disaster Proclamation

The declaration ensures that the City of Buda will have access to Federal and State resources while the coronavirus impacts lives, businesses, and most aspects of everyday life.

On Thursday, March 19, Governor Abbott declared that all schools, gyms, bars and restaurants will be closed for 14 days to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus in Texas that goes into effect on Friday, March 20 at 11:59 p.m. and runs through 11:59 p.m. on April 3. County Judge Ruben Becerra issued a second order closing all daycare centers in Hays County for the same time period as the Governor’s ruling. In solidarity with Judge Becerra, Mayor Haehn has also ordered the closure of daycare facilities in Buda for 14 days starting at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 20. The order lasts until 11:59 p.m. on April 3.     

“This was a tough decision that was made after much discussion with my counterparts across Hays County. I am thankful for their leadership and we are working together to keep our communities safe,” Mayor George Haehn said. 

One of the ways that COVID-19 spreads is through person-to-person contact. There are a lot of businesses impacted by closures, and one of the best ways to get them all back up and running is by social distancing, which is extremely difficult to manage in a daycare facility.

“A task force has been assembled to look at alternatives to our current Order closing daycare facilities through April 3, and we are looking forward to their recommendations,” County Judge Ruben Becerra said.

The Governor has issued an Order limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons during the same timeframe as the Judge’s Order, and the County and cities are doing their best to break the cycle of CORVID-19 spread by closing day care facilities in Hays County for the approximate two-week timeframe. The Order by Judge Ruben Becerra on March 19, with agreement from city mayors, could be extended or rescinded.

City council also discussed the financial impact of COVID-19 to local businesses. Out of that discussion city council commissioned a joint task force to address the needs of businesses in Buda.

“We are thankful to the city council for taking steps to ensure a solid economic footing for the businesses in Buda. There are going to be some things done for small business, but not only small business, but business throughout the City of Buda. They commissioned a joint task force that is made up of representatives of the City, the Buda Economic Development Corporation, the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce, the Main Street Director, and Tourism Director.”      

City council adopted a resolution ratifying the City Manager’s Emergency Directives and adopted Emergency Policies pertaining to Emergency Event Telecommuting and an Emergency Event Leave for City of Buda staff.      

In the meantime, City services are still being offered with modified and virtual access to employees.
   
“The City of Buda is fully operational, although we are not servicing customers face to face in our typical office setting. We want Buda citizens to know that the Mayor, Council, myself, and City employees will continue to work to meet your needs through this ever-evolving situation,” City Manager Kenneth Williams said.

“I want the Citizens of Buda to know that we will get through this together. These temporary restrictions are painful, but necessary. The sooner we can stop additional spread of the virus, the sooner we can retain some normalcy,” Mayor Haehn said.

Please continue to follow the City of Buda on social media and at www.ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation.

Message to City of Buda Utility Customers

Dear City of Buda Utility Customers:

As you are aware, there is a growing concern over the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it continues to evolve. Please know that the City of Buda remains committed to providing safe drinking water to our customers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water regulations require treatment of public water systems to remove or kill pathogens, including viruses. The City of Buda uses chlorine as a disinfectant for bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. City operators perform daily chlorine testing in accordance with EPA regulations to ensure chlorine levels remain within an acceptable range.

The City of Buda is also taking precautions to protect our staff from any illness that would disrupt service. We have operations staff that are cross-trained and licensed in both water and wastewater operations to ensure safe and reliable treatment of water and wastewater in the areas we serve.

In order to promote the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing recommendations, we are encouraging utility customers to pay bills online or by phone using a credit card, or by mail. To pay by phone, call (512) 295-8845, or please visit the following website: https://www.municipalonlinepayments.com/budatx. Two drop box locations are available at City Hall located at the front entrance, and near the library book drop. Checks can be mailed to 405 E. Loop Street, Building 100, Buda, Texas 78610.

Beginning on, March 18, 2020, the City of Buda will be crediting customer accounts after the transaction for credit card processing fees on payments made online or by phone. The City of Buda is also temporarily halting late payment fees and disconnections due to non-payment.

We will continue to monitor State and Federal health agencies’ guidance and recommendations for potential impacts in order to serve you. The City of Buda remains committed to providing safe and reliable service to you during this time.

If you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact either Public Works at 512-312-2876 or Utility Billing at 512-295-8845.

Non-City Related Closures

The Board of Directors of the Onion Creek Senior Center in Buda has made the decision to close the Senior Center to all activities – exercise classes, dances, games, etc. -- during the week of March 16 – 22, 2020, due to concerns with the Covid-19 coronavirus and the safety of our seniors. The Center will be serving a take-out lunch on Thursday, March 19, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Hays CISD Updates:  www.hayscisd.net/coronavirus 

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Orders In Accordance With Federal Guidelines To Mitigate Spread Of COVID-19 In Texas

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced a series of Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. These orders are in accordance with federal guidelines issued by the President and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will aid in the state’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Governor Abbott was joined for the announcement by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

Commissioner Hellerstedt also announced that he has declared a Public Health Disaster which will give state and local officials additional tools to respond to COVID-19. The Governor’s Executive Orders, combined with the Public Health Disaster, provide Texas with enhanced tools and protocols to help state and local partners in their ongoing efforts to respond to, track the progress of, and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. 

"The State of Texas is at a pivotal moment in our response to COVID-19, and it is imperative that we act now on preemptive measures to slow the spread of this virus," said Governor Abbott. "One of the most effective ways we can do this is by promoting more social distancing and ensuring Texans avoid large group settings such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and schools where the risk of spreading COVID-19 is high. We must also continue to protect our most vulnerable populations, which is why the State of Texas is barring all visitations at nursing homes and retirement or long-term care facilities except in the case of critical assistance. Today’s executive orders are precautionary measures that are in line with guidelines from the CDC and they will strengthen Texas’ ability to safeguard our communities and respond to COVID-19. As Texans, we must continue to work collaboratively to slow the spread of this virus and protect public health."

The following orders have been issued by Governor Abbott: 

  • Order No. 1: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Order No. 2: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.
  • Order No. 3: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  • Order No. 4: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.

These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 11:59 PM on March 20, 2020 and will end at 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.

This executive order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. This executive order does not mandate sheltering in place. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services. 

For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVD-19. The more that people reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained and the sooner this executive order will expire.

Under Chapter 81 of the Health and Safety Code, Commissioner Hellerstedt’s Public Health Disaster Declaration triggers a number of important tools for state and local officials to respond to COVID-19:

  • Texas and local health authorities can more easily require property owners to disinfect, decontaminate, and seal off property that might be contaminated.
  • It authorizes health authorities to take additional control measures that they see fit to control and eradicate the threat to public health. 
  • It streamlines the process for state and local health authorities to invoke the courts to enforce quarantines of individuals.
  • Activates enhanced tools for DSHS to collect disease and health information and to share that information with law enforcement personnel and first responders as appropriate.

View the Governor’s Executive Order

View the Public Health Disaster Declaration

Latest Information From Hays County on Coronavirus 

COVID-19 Stay Home, Work Safe Order for Hays County

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra issued a Stay Home, Work Safe Order effective March 26, 2020, at 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. April 10, 2020, unless extended or cancelled. The Order also imposes a nightly curfew for members of the public between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Stay Home, Work Safe Order - FULL ORDER 

The Order was put in place to limit movement and activity among people in Hays County to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Residents, employers and employees are asked to follow the order to protect themselves and our community.

Mayor George Haehn has amended his previous order that closed daycare centers in Buda. The amended order mirrors the current “Stay Home, Work Safe” order put in to place by Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra. After consulting with the City Attorney, it was determined that in the event of any conflict between the orders of the county judge and mayor, the orders of the county judge prevail. 

Mayor Haehn Amended Order - March 27, 2020 

Under Judge Becerra’s order day care facilities that serve essential workers can remain open, with restrictions on how they operate in order to help ensure children and employees do not spread the virus.

See childcare service restrictions in “Section 4, viii” of Hays County Stay Home, Stay Safe order: Stay Home, Work Safe Order 

While Hays County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order allows for day care facilities to remain open with restrictions, the decision to open or close is up to individual daycare owners.        

Mayor Haehn’s amended order also asks retailers to implement one-way aisles in their establishments to help with customer flow, overcrowding, and observation of the 6-foot social distancing recommendations by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Businesses will need to mark the floor at six-foot intervals at registers or other areas where lines are formed. In addition, all doors used for the general public should be situated in a way that customers do not have to touch the door entering or exiting the business.

“I met with as many of our local retailers as possible and greatly appreciate their cooperation in keeping everyone safe. A week ago, we had 6 positive COVID-19 cases in Hays County. That number has since doubled and will likely continue to increase. It is important that we continue to work as a community to prevent further spread of the virus in Buda and Hays County and prevent our hospitals and medical professionals from being overwhelmed with patients.”

As mentioned previously, all sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skateparks, water fountains and other facilities are closed to the public until further notice. Trails and green spaces remain open, but please practice social distancing guidelines and keep six feet of space between yourself and others who do not live in your same household. The same rules apply for HOA managed and private parks facilities.           

“My amended order is designed to protect the health and welfare of our citizens, while balancing their ability to live and work.”

For additional clarification on Hays County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order please visit Hays County’s website here:  https://hayscountytx.com/questions-from-residents-about-judges-3rd-order-answered/

You can also visit http://haysinformed.com/.

For non-emergency questions about COVID-19 please call the Hays County COVID-19 Hotline at 512-393-5525.

For City of Buda information on COVID-19 please visit ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra Signs Order That Includes Closing Daycare Centers

On March 19, 2020, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra signed a 2nd Order related to COVID-19 that in ways mirrors one signed earlier in the day by Governor Greg Abbott, with some differences. These orders supersede previous ones.

Governor Abbott’s Order begins at 11:59 PM on March 20, 2020 and ends at 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020, subject to extension, as does the County’s. The Governor’s Order limits social gatherings to no more than 10 people, and closes bars, gyms, restaurants (to-go and delivery still allowed), and schools statewide. It also bans visits to nursing and retirement homes unless there is a critical need.

The Judge’s Order includes closing daycare centers throughout the county for the time period and encourages social distancing for events that are exempted from the gathering requirement. Read the entire Hays County Order here: https://tinyurl.com/shlsbky

“The County’s new COVID-19 Order was a collaborative effort with mayors of cities within Hays County,” Judge Becerra, said. “We met via conference call to discuss and gathered input on these serious changes to our way of life. We came to agreement on what would best serve all our residents.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra Order on Social Gatherings - March 17

On Tuesday, March 17 Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra issued the following order. regarding social gatherings Here’s a link to the document: Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra Order

Esta tarde (17 de marzo), el juez del condado de Hays, Ruben Becerra, emitió la siguiente orden. Aquí hay un enlace al documento: https://tinyurl.com/wmmkts5

CDC Extends Time for Release of Quarantined Persons without Fever - March 16

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (March 16, 2020) – The CDC has issued updated guidelines for the time a person in quarantine should be fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications. Now, those quarantined must be fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, up from 48. This applies to those persons already in quarantine in addition to future persons who are quarantined.

Hays County’s Hays Informed website, www.HaysInformed.com, has a rolling update on COVID-19 issues in Hays County posted by multiple jurisdictions.

County, Cities Issue Disaster Declarations to Stay Ahead of Potential COVID-19 Needs

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (March 16, 2020) – Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra and mayors from throughout Hays County announced disaster declarations at a press conference Sunday at the Hays County Courthouse. The declarations allow local governments to allocate resources and personnel as well as request funds and additional resources from the state and federal governments to assist in managing the effects of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus.

One resident of Hays County is presumed positive for the virus and is self-quarantined at home following travel to the West Coast. That person did not have contact with Hays County residents, and Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider said the chances of contracting COVID-19 from that person are low to nil. Schneider noted the hospital the patient went to after getting off the plane March 12 followed all proper protocols to ensure the virus wasn’t spread there.

At the press conference, Judge Becerra expressed his appreciation for the collaboration with cities and school districts, saying, “We are working together on every front – what you see here is merely the tip of the spear of your government working for you. I am grateful to have a visible show of support here and we are at every level united.”

Mayor Jane Hughson of San Marcos, Mayor Travis Mitchell of Kyle, Mayor George Haehn of Buda, and Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Minnick of Wimberley each addressed reporters as did Rep. Erin Zwiener, while Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds of Dripping Springs lent support by his presence. Common themes emerged as each spoke:

- Governments throughout the county are working together, and collaborating with the state and federal governments, all of which have plans and protocols in place for all types of emergencies

-The need for residents to follow good hygiene practices

-Supply chains are operating as normal, making stockpiling supplies unnecessary.

“We did not have an earthquake or a hurricane, we still have lights and water and the supply chain will still move cargo,” Judge Becerra said. “Everything is going to be fine in reference to supplies.” Because some residents are stockpiling and purchasing more than a normal amount, stores are having difficulty restocking shelves, causing shoppers to think supplies are low.

Residents who are healthy were also encouraged to look out for neighbors who might have difficulty in navigating grocery store crowds as well as those who are food insecure or whose income has suddenly dropped.

“This is just a virus – it’s not Ebola – and it spreads like flu,” Schneider, Epidemiologist for the Hays County Local Health Department, said. “Please stay home if you feel sick or have a fever. The majority of people who get this and stay home will have the virus run its course and go back to their normal daily life 48 hours after they are fever-free. There is no magic pill for this. If your doctor orders a test and you test positive you still go home and wait it out.” He noted that persons who experience a sudden spike in fever (104 degrees or above) or shortness of breath should definitely seek medical attention, but otherwise over-the-counter fever medications are the usual treatment. Schneider also pointed out that unless a person is already exhibiting symptoms a test would come back negative for the virus.

To watch the press conference on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3VRTirrHrhE. For additional information about COVID-19 visit your city’s website, the Hays County website, www.HaysInformed.com, the Centers for Disease Control, or the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Good hygiene practices are essential:
Prevention Tips:
1. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day, including between
your fingers and underneath your nails. Handwashing is considered the best way to remove
germs and dirt, and hand sanitizers should be used only when handwashing is not available.
The hand sanitizers should be at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective.
2. Avoid handshaking and high-fives
3. Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
4. Stay home when you feel sick
5. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then put the tissue in the trash, or use the crook of
your elbow if a tissue isn’t available
6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household
disinfectant cleaning spray or wipe. Clean cell and desk phones, computer keyboards, door
handles, and work surfaces often.
7. Face masks are not considered an effective way to prevent someone from catching a virus
unless you have close, frequent contact with a sick person; however, they are an option for sick
people to use to keep from spreading the virus.
8. Avoid travel to areas that have been designated high-risk areas because of multiple verified
cases of Corona
9. Individuals are encouraged to avoid large gatherings. This includes, but is not limited to
concerts, plays, sporting events, gymnasiums, dances, and restaurants. Recreation activities
that can be practiced in private are encouraged. This virus spreads by person-to-person
transmission just like the flu, so limiting human contact can help prevent COVID-19 from
spreading.

Hays County Website
https://hayscountytx.com/coronavirus-covid-19-information-…/

Texas Department of State Health Services
https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

Centers for Disease Control
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Helpful Links

Hays County Health Department

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For more information on the Novel Coronavirus, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services

World Health Organization

Hays County COVID-19 Hotline 

COVID-19 Hotline Available for Hays County Residents 

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (March 23, 2020) -- To address a rising tide of questions and concerns about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Hays County Local Health Department, in conjunction with the City of San Marcos, has established a call center to respond to questions from Hays County residents.  

Residents may call the hotline at 512.393.5525 with non-emergency COVID-19 questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Spanish speakers will be available. You can also check online for symptoms, prevention, and treatment at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html in English and Spanish. 

Callers will be placed into an automated system when calling in to the hotline. If you are a Hays County resident, select one (1). You will then be placed in the queue for the next available operator to assist in answering any questions. Call Center personnel will answer frequently asked questions about symptoms, possible testing, and self-isolation.  

If you are experiencing symptoms or concerned that you have been exposed to the virus, please call your health care professional to determine next steps. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1. 

Additional information about symptoms and prevention is at  the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control which offers information in Spanish and Chinese as well as English. As in any emergency situation, www.HaysInformed.com, the countywide emergency notification blog, has a rolling list of important information regarding COVID19.  

More Information From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How COVID-19  Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

Watch for Symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

 Prevention and Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

How to prepare and take action for COVID 19 (Communities, Schools, and Businesses)

At Home

At K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs

At Colleges and Universities

At Work

Community-and-Faith Based Organizations 

Large Community Events/Mass Gatherings

Healthcare Settings

First Responders

Homeless Shelters