Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.
“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”
Additionally, the Governor released a new video message to coincide with his Executive Order, encouraging Texans to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep their communities safe. The video can be downloaded at this link and can also be viewed on YouTube.
Please click on the link below for the Declaration of Disaster for Public Health Emergency that was issued by Fort Bend County Judge KP George issued June 23, 2020. We have also included the Executive Order regarding the use of facial protection. The executive order was issued on June 23, 2020, and is set to expire at 11:59 P.M. on June 30, 2020.
WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency was issued to allow Fort Bend County to take measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of Fort Bend County residents; and
Whereas, on March 13, 2020, a Declaration of State of Disaster was issued by Governor Abbott to take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of Texans; and
Whereas, on March 16, 2020, President Donald Trump acknowledged the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing strict new guidelines to limit people’s interactions, including that Americans should avoid groups of more than 10 people; and
Whereas, on March 17, 2020, the Fort Bend County Commissioners at a Special Meeting of Commissioners Court approved an extension of the Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency to March 24, 2020, and such was further extended by Order of Commissioners Court on March 24, 2020, March 31, 2020, and April 28, 2020; and
Whereas, due to the substantial risks to the public, certain establishments were ordered closed and public access to Fort Bend County offices and facilities were limited to essential functions including but not limited to court obligations, making payments, and obtaining permits, to implement the “All of Community” approach, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), by Order of the County Judge of Fort Bend County, on March 17, 2020, as amended on March 20, 2020 and April 1, 2020 effective until 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2020, unless a declaration of the local disaster for public health emergency was no longer in effect; and
Whereas, on April 27, 2020 Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-18 to continue and expand the reopening of services as part of a safe, strategic plan to Open Texas, reopening certain retail services and providing local governments with the ability to reopen operations relating to permitting, recordation, and document-filing services, as determined by such local governments starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 1, 2020; and
Whereas, Executive Order GA-18 supersedes any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster, but only to the extent that such a local order restricts certain services specifically allowed by, allows gatherings prohibited by, or expands the list of essential or the scope of reopened services as set forth by Executive Order GA-18.
NOW THEREFORE, I, COUNTY JUDGE OF FORT BEND COUNTY, TEXAS, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED BY TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 418, HEREBY FIND AND ORDER:
SECTION 1. That the findings and recitations set out in the preamble to this Order are found to be true and correct and they are hereby adopted by the County Judge and made a part hereof for all purposes.
SECTION 2. That this Order shall be read to comply with Executive Order No. GA-18 signed by Governor Greg Abbott on April 27, 2020, relating to the expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
SECTION 3. Public access to Fort Bend County offices and facilities shall remain limited to essential functions including but not limited to court obligations, making payments, and obtaining permits effective immediately and continuing through 11:59 p.m. on May 3, 2020. Members of the public should contact the appropriate department or court for instructions or authorization to appear – https://www.fortbendcountytx.gov/government/departments/county-administration/human-resources/employees/directory.
SECTION 4. Pursuant to Annex U, Section V. (A) (4) (a) of the Fort Bend County Emergency Operations Plan approved by Commissioners Court on January 15, 2019, and in accordance with Texas Government Code §418.173, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, the Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office, and other peace officers, as defined by Article 2.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, are hereby authorized to enforce this order, and the failure to comply with this Order is an offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or confinement in jail for a term of up to 180 days.
SECTION 5. Fort Bend County will post this Order on its website. In addition, a copy will be provided upon the request of any member of the public. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to any person, structure, gathering, or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision will not affect the validity of this Order.
SECTION 6. This Order applies to all unincorporated and incorporated areas within the boundaries of Fort Bend County and shall be effective until 11:59 p.m. on May 3, 2020.
ORDERED this the __________ day of April, 2020.
KP George, County Judge
Laura Richard, County Clerk
Why: County Judge KP George and County public health officials are committed to releasing the County’s COVID-19 activities accurately and quickly. In order to better track the virus spread, the County is opening a second site to expand testing capabilities. The new testing site opened Monday, April 27 in Sugar Land. The current testing site continues operation in Rosenberg.
What: Fort Bend County is partnering with AccessHealth to perform the tests and with LabCorp, to provide the test kits and results. The County is paying all fees related to the tests. The site is able to do approximately 200 tests per day.
Who can be tested: Both sites are open at no cost to all residents of Fort Bend County. There is no requirement for symptoms to be tested.
When: The testing site will be operating Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm and Saturday from 10am-2pm.
How to Schedule an Appointment: Go to the Fort Bend County website: fill out your information and a representative will contact you and provide an ID code, appointment day and time. If you do not have internet access, please call (281) 238-2363 for the pre-screening Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm and Saturday from 8am-12pm.
Testing details: You will be given the address to the testing site when you make an appointment. You must bring the unique ID code to the site.
Positive Test Results: If you test positive for COVID-19, please adhere to the important guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on what to do if you are sick and what your household members and those caring for you at home need to do to avoid getting sick too.
Negative Test Results: If you test negative for COVID-19, it does not rule out getting sick later. Keep in mind that you can still get exposed to the virus or the test did not pick up on a very early infection.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You may know that COVID-19 is spreading in Fort Bend County as we post the daily updates on our online response hub. We have sadly seen deaths among our most vulnerable population. To stop the spread, we need people to stay home as much as possible. Please continue to follow medical and public health guidelines for social distancing, hand washing, cleaning your home and wearing cloth masks. Together, we can stop this invisible enemy and return to our normal lives as quickly as possible.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George strongly recommends that all residents use masks that cover their noses and mouths in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.
REASON: Mask coverings are important because a significant percentage of individuals with the COVID-19 virus are asymptomatic, they are unknowingly spreading the virus to the other people.
UPDATED GUIDELINES ON STAY HOME ORDER: Staying home is the best way to help reduce the spread of the virus, but if an individual must leave their place of residence to visit an essential business, wearing a fabric face mask should be used. People should continue to practice health habits, such as practicing social distance and frequent hand washing.
WHO: To the greatest extent possible, everyone over the age of two years old should wear simple face cloth covering over his or her nose and mouth.
WHAT: The County recommends that face cloth coverings be created from household items or from common materials such as a t-shirt, a scarf, bandana or handkerchief. It is not recommended to use medical grade (N95) and surgical masks. Those supplies should be reserved for medical professionals and first responders. Visit the CDC’s website for directions on how to make cloth coverings.
WHEN: People should wear masks when patronizing an essential business, such as a grocery store, pharmacy, health care office. Masks should be worn when using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares.
EXCEPTIONS: It is not necessary to wear masks when in your home, riding in a personal vehicle, engaging in outdoor activity or eating. It is not recommended to wear a mask when doing so poses a greater risk to mental or physical health, safety or security. This would include those who have trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
CHILDREN: Parents/guardians of children under 10 years old shall be responsible for appropriately masking children. The parent/guardian must supervise at all times to ensure the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a detailed guide on helping parents of young children on the use of masks and can be found on the AAP website.
CHILDREN EXCEPTIONS: Children/infants under the age of two should not wear face coverings over their nose and mouth. Children with breathing problems should not wear a face covering.
ESSENTIAL WORKERS: To the greatest extent possible, all individuals working for an essential business are advised to wear a mask or cloth face covering whenever in public and whenever performing job duties in the presence of others.
ESSENTIAL BUSINESS EMPLOYERS: To the greatest extent possible, employers shall provide employees with a mask or face covering. An owner or operator of an Essential Business may refuse admission or service to any individual who fails to wear face covering.
HEALTHCARE WORKERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS: Health care and medical workers, first responders and others whose work requires close contact with people who are ill should only use medical grade (N95) and surgical masks, not cloth face coverings.
COVID-19 SUSPECTED POSITIVES: Those who are currently being tested and those who have not tested but have a cough and/or a fever — and all their household members — shall not leave their residence unless it is for a medical reason. The patient must wear a mask or cloth face covering to prevent the spread to others.