(courtesy City of Brenham)

Brenham Mayor Milton Tate has signed a local disaster declaration for the City of Brenham.

The order, signed Wednesday, declares a public health emergency for the city, and allows it to take actions necessary to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the public while suppressing COVID-19.  Through this action, the city can:

  • establish curfews
  • regulate occupation of and/or closing of food establishments
  • regulate occupation of and/or closing of common bar spaces open to the public and prohibition of alcohol consumption on the bar premises
  • regulate occupation of and/or closing of event venues, entertainment facilities, festivals, sports venues, museums, tourist attractions, recreation facilities, and other similar facilities where people gather
  • include the quarantine of persons and occupied structures
  • examine and regulate hospitals
  • regulate ingress and egress from the City
  • regulate ingress and egress to occupied structures
  • ensure compliance for those who do not comply with the city’s rules
  • limit the size of gatherings to no more than ten people and mandates the cancellation of all such gatherings with ten or more persons until further notice.

The city is mandating that all gatherings of more than ten people—not concerning businesses or places where activities and shopping are necessary—be stopped immediately.  If residents and businesses do not adhere to the city’s request and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the declaration gives the Mayor authority to close them or take further action.

Tate in a release said the city is “working around the clock to stay abreast of the information released regarding COVID-19”.  He said the city has not seen the true implications of this virus yet, but knows the only way to stop the spread is to “stop gathering and distance ourselves”.  He asked that all Brenham residents take this seriously and practice social distancing.

(Social distancing involves “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance” whenever possible to limit the ability of the virus to spread. Social distancing is not the same as self-quarantine or isolation, two other practices being utilized to minimize the coronavirus spread. The key difference is that a quarantine or isolation restricts the movement of people within a certain area or zone to limit transferring and spreading an infection. Social distancing places no such locational constraints, rather it is a behavioral practice to lower the risk in most circumstances.)

The city continues to work alongside public health and emergency management officials throughout the state and region to ensure the community is prepared with a proactive approach to mitigate the spread of the virus.

There have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brenham and Washington County at this time.  Should the Washington County Office of Emergency Management receive notification of a confirmed case locally, residents will be notified via the city’s normal communication methods.  The city will continue to coordinate with local officials to provide residents with up to date information.

The city encourages residents to stay informed on the latest developments through trusted sources such as the Texas Department of State Health Services, at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus, or the CDC at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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