Burnet County Judge James Oakley issued a “Stay in Place and Stay Safe” order for the county in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect residents.
It goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 25. It will continue until the judge rescinds it or amends it or it’s superseded.
“After much collaboration, Burnet County will join other counties and communities across Texas and the nation to ensure responsible activity during this pandemic,” Oakley stated in a media release just after noon March 25. “As advised by the Burnet County Local Health Authority and supported by all the mayors of incorporated municipalities within Burnet County, I am enacting a ‘Stay in Place and Stay Safe’ order to be effective at 11:59 p.m. (Wednesday). This measure is being taken to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Burnet County. Your cooperation, patience and understanding is appreciated.”
The order restricts Burnet County residents to “stay in their place of residence.” However, Oakley does includes exemptions for essential businesses, essential activities, essential government functions, health care operations, and essential critical infrastructure.
The order is similar to many other stay in home or stay in place orders.
Essential businesses under the Burnet County order include:
• health care operations, essential critical infrastructure, and essential government functions
• grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments selling canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, poultry, and household consumer products such as for cleaning and personal care
• food cultivation operations, including farming, livestock, fishing, and garden centers
• residential, transportation, and commercial construction
• businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities to those in need
• newspapers, television, radio, and other media
• gas stations and fuel suppliers
• auto supply, auto repair, auto parts, auto maintenance, vehicle manufacturing, vehicle sales, and other auto-related facilities
• banks and other financial institutions
• hardware stores
• trash and recycling collection, processing, and disposal operations
• cleaning, maintenance, and security for facilities
• warehouse distribution and fulfillment operations
• storage for essential businesses
• funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, burial, and related services, provided that social distancing requirements are maintained to the greatest extent possible
• plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and others who provide services necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities, and essential businesses, in addition to emergency repairs for facilities of non-essential businesses
• certain real estate functions limited to real estate property management, including scheduling necessary repairs that affect the safety and wellbeing of residents, executing and managing leases (commercial and residential), renewal and adjustments of leases (commercial and residential); real estate recordings and transfers, including the execution and documentation of real estate transfers; and real property-related services such as permitting, inspections, construction, procurement, representation, and title searches
• businesses and other facilities providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes
• educational institutions, including public and private prekindergarten establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing requirements are maintained to the greatest extent possible
• laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers
• restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry-out
• businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home
• businesses that provide Information Technology (IT) services necessary to maintain internet and telecommunications systems
• businesses that provide residential and/or commercial moving services and necessary moving supplies
• businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate
• businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods, or services directly to homes
• any business or manufacturer that retools so a substantial part of their business is for the purpose of manufacturing and producing products intended to be directly utilized for the COVID-19 response
• airlines, taxis, and other private transportation operations providing services necessary for essential activities
• professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities
• childcare, daycare and child watch facilities and providers providing services that enable employees exempted in the county order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare, daycare, and child watch facilities and providers must operate under the following mandatory conditions:
a. Childcare, daycare, and child watch be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
b. Children should not change from one group to another.
c. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group should be in a separate room. Groups should not mix with each other.
d. Childcare providers should remain solely with one group of children.
The Burnet County order also makes room for essential activities as well. Those include:
• To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication and visiting a health care professional
• To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members or to deliver those services or supplies to others and to food banks and food bank depositories, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, poultry, and any household consumer products or products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, and obtaining supplies they need to work from home
• To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements. Examples of these, but not limited to, are running, walking, hiking, fishing, golfing, or boating
• To perform work providing essential products and services at an essential business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Stay in Place and Stay Safe, including minimum basic operations
• To care for a family member or pet in another household
• To exchange children between parents, guardians, or managing conservators pursuant to a child custody order or agreement between the parties
Though the order outlines essential businesses, it also allows for other businesses to conduct basic minimum operations. Those actions include:
• The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions
• The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences
Staff and employees should do their best to follow social distancing standards while undertaking minimum basic operations
For the full order, go to the Burnet County website. There are also some frequently asked questions at the bottom of the order.
The order is a legal one and failing to comply could lead to a criminal charge, punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and a jail term up to 180 days.
Residents can also contact their city administration or the courthouse with questions. Call the county at 512-756-5420 or check the website for additional information.