By Nubia Reyna, Staff Writer
The Brownsville City Commission on Tuesday approved an amended declaration of local disaster for public health emergency which includes new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 such as limiting restaurants and bars, closing school campuses for the remainder of the school year and wearing mandatory facial covering starting Monday.
The declaration’s purpose is to give the city the ability to reduce the possibility of exposure to disease, control the risk, promote health, compel persons to undergo additional health measures that prevent or control the spread of disease, including the provision of temporary housing or emergency shelters for persons misplaced or evacuated, and request assistance from the governor of state resources, the declaration reads.
The amended declaration includes the following:
>>Restaurants and bars shall permit delivery, pick up and take out only so long as no more than 10 people congregate in the take-out area. Drive-thru and take-out patrons are to be instructed to remain in their vehicles. If take-out patrons are on foot, they must be seated at last 6 feet from each other. Businesses are encouraged to implement procedures whereby take-out patrons pay via telephone or electronic means.
Downtown City metered parking will continue to be suspended in order to support these measures. Parking areas within Shopping Areas are also strongly encouraged to create takeout and delivery designated parking spaces.
>>Business establishments selling groceries or staples of daily living shall discourage persons under the age of 14 to enter the premises, unless absolutely necessary
>>Religious and worship services should be provided by video and teleconference. If religious services cannot be conducted from home or through remote services, they should be conducted consistent with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC by practicing good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation, and by implementing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19
>>All elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures are prohibited anywhere in the City. Hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental offices, and other medical facilities are directed to identify procedures that are deemed “elective” by assessing which procedures can be postponed or cancelled based on patient risk considering the emergency need for redirection of resources to COVID-19 response
>>Child day care centers shall not have more than ten (10) children per room and comply with the six (6) foot social distancing requirement, as well as state requirements.
>>Adult day care centers shall not have more than ten (10) adults per room and comply with the six (6) foot social distancing requirement, as well as state requirements.
>>Plasma centers shall not have more than ten (10) donors per room and comply with the six (6) foot social distancing requirement, as well as any other applicable local, state, or federal requirements.
>>All City libraries are closed
>>All City of Brownsville residents are strongly encouraged to use online services and drive-thru services while doing business with the City
>>Facial Coverings are recommended when outside of your home for all individuals over the age of 5. Face coverings will become mandatory on Monday, April 13
>>School campuses shall be closed to students for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent a school from distributing meals, or conducting remote classes, online classes, or summer school. “Schools” shall be defined as all K-12 campuses, trade schools, vocational schools, colleges or universities.