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Burnet County has no plans for shelter-in-place order

Burnet County Commissioners Court

The Burnet County Commissioners Court and county offices are still at work. During their regular meeting March 24, commissioners reviewed several plats and passed a few resolutions. The court is made up of Precinct 2 Commissioner Damon Beierle (left), Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther Jr., County Judge James Oakley, Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery, and Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wall. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Burnet County Judge James Oakley said he has no plans to issue a shelter-in-place order due to the COVID-19 pandemic but instead will follow Governor Greg Abbott’s lead.

“I want to respect what the governor does statewide,” Oakley said during the Burnet County Commissioners Court meeting March 24.

The question came up as commissioners live streamed the meeting via Facebook so residents could keep up with county business without gathering in a large group due to concerns over spreading the novel coronavirus.

But Oakley added that the situation is fluid and things are changing very quickly.

The judge pointed out that Burnet County is in a different situation than urban counties, and he doesn’t anticipate he will issue a lockdown order. Travis and Williamson counties recently issued shelter-in-place orders.

While the county deals with COVID-19, officials are also working to ensure residents continue receiving needed services. Commissioners tackled regular tasks such as reviewing development plats and approving resolutions.

The live stream of the meeting was just one change in how the county now conducts its business in the midst of the outbreak. Many Burnet County departments and offices have closed to the public but continue to offer services online, over the phone, and by email.

County Clerk Janet Parker told the court she is setting up her staff to work from home.

“Sixty percent of what comes through my office is e-file,” she said. “That part of the world hasn’t shut down.”

The county clerk’s office handles a myriad of responsibilities, including issuing marriage licenses. Businesses such as developers and title companies rely on the county clerk for handling and filing documents.

Despite closing the office to the public, it’s still bustling.

Parker told the commissioners that, on March 23, four days after closing to the public, her staff filed 70 documents.

One service that still requires in-person attention is marriage licenses. Parker said those needing a marriage license can begin the process online or over the phone and then schedule an appointment for any in-person steps.

Other county offices are following similar procedures.

Burnet County Attorney Eddie Arredondo said his office will continue to take phone calls and work with individuals. He pointed out that if someone needs a protective order, his office will assist them.

Herb Darling, director of Burnet County Development Services, said his department is following suit but added staff will continue to do tasks to “try to keep as many people working in the construction industry as possible.”

“We’re going to keep our field inspections going,” he added. “We have a good plan in place.”

Burnet County residents or businesses needing county services can find phone numbers and emails on the county’s website.

14 thoughts on “Burnet County has no plans for shelter-in-place order

  1. Why do we need a Shelter in Place. Can’t you do this on your own.
    What wrong with all of you, take it on your self to self quarantine.
    I don’t need any one to tell me to be safe. I am a grown adult..

  2. Well look at that! 24 hrs later and an order has been issued. Looks like public pressure worked! Way to put the people first.

  3. James is about James. He would throw his constituents under a bus to show what a trumper he is. People before party! We need Judge Klaeger back!

    1. I’m sorry you are still disgruntled about your separation from employment with Burnet County

  4. Yes, we’ll wish the virus away with thoughts and prayers. ?

    Be responsible and order shelter in place to stop the spread.

  5. My daughter is surviving cancer patient with a low immune system this doesn’t just effect the elderly something need to be done my daughter is not expendable she’s 5 years old we have the kids on lock down but I’m afraid that I’m going to bring something home because I have no choice but to go to work something needs to be done

  6. The judge has made a fatal judgment error for which he will surely pay the price.

  7. Why not shelter in place now to stop the spread?
    So we are just going to let it spread and then try to issue the shelter in place after it has gotten out of hand……?‍♀️?‍♀️

  8. This is crazy! We have alot of small children and elderly here in Burnet County and you seem like you don’t give a damn about us residents! You need to step up and place this order so noone dies or gets really sick on your watch!

  9. Whatever the decision, God bless those essential employees on the front lines! #2Chronicles714

  10. Until it affects James Oakley family or one of these commissioners is when they will do something, that is the way of Burnet County, has always been, is and will always be, so old school in a New Era where the future is so fragile.

  11. We need a shelter in place order. People need to stay home and away from each other. We need to stop the spread in TEXAS!

    1. I just read that the City of Lampasas is doing this along with Austin. I agree with other comments. We also need to stay at home. This covid19 is very contagious. Also there was someone under the age of 18 that died with this virus today. I feel we don’t know enough about this virus and we should not go about business as usual. We need to get serious about this.

  12. What an ignorant decision not to issue a shelter-in-place motion.we will hear of new cases every day and it will multiply. Thanks James Oakley.

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