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Amended Declaration of Disaster – March 25, 2020

View the PDF here.

View the one-page information sheet here.



WHEREAS, a novel coronavirus, now designated SARS-CoV2 which causes the disease COVID- 19, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization; and

WHEREAS, the symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe illness and cause further complications including death; and

WHEREAS, COVID-19 virus mainly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes; and

WHEREAS, President Donald Trump declared a State of National Emergency for the United States of America on March 13, 2020; and

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the Governor of the State of Texas issued a proclamation certifying that COVID-19 poses an imminent threat of disaster in the state and declaring a state of disaster for all counties in Texas; and

WHEREAS, on March 18, 2020, the City Council of the City of Stephenville issued a Declaration of Local State Disaster Due to Public Health Emergency and the City of Stephenville is taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of this potentially devastating disease in our community; and

WHEREAS, said state of disaster requires that certain emergency protective measures be taken pursuant to the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 relating to Emergency Management and Public Health, pursuant to Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDERED by the City Council of the City of Stephenville, Texas that the March 18, 2020 Declaration of Public Health Emergency is hereby amended as follows:


The virus that causes 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is easily transmitted through person to person contact, especially in group settings, and it is essential that the spread of the virus be slowed to protect the ability of public and private health care providers to handle the influx of new patients and safeguard public health and safety. Because of the risk of the rapid spread of the virus, and the need to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, this Order requires all individuals anywhere in Erath County, Texas to shelter in place – that is, stay at home – except for certain essential activities and work to provide essential business and government services or perform essential public infrastructure construction, including housing. This Order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 25, 2020 and will continue through 11:59 p.m. on April 1, 2020, subject to the limited exceptions and under the terms and conditions more particularly set forth below.


  1. This Declaration orders that all individuals currently living within Erath County, Texas are to shelter at their place of residence. For purposes of this Order, residences include hotels, motels, shared rentals, and similar facilities. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times, as reasonably as possible, maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence. All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities, as described in Section 2.
  2. This Declaration orders that all businesses shall comply with the Social Distancing Guidelines attached, including maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and the general public. The business may take other precautions including wearing protective equipment, rotating shifts, etc., if distancing is not achievable in the workplace.
  3. This Declaration orders all businesses operating within the city of Stephenville, Texas to take extreme care and all actions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Extreme care and action include, but is not limited to, the following practices:
    • Monitoring the body temperature of all employees;
    • Prior to opening for business and throughout the day disinfecting all surfaces;
    • Encouraging all employees to wash their hands on an hourly basis;
    • Mandate all employees and customers abide by the social distancing guidelines attached;
    • Limit travel of employees outside the city limits of the City of Stephenville, Texas;
    • Where no automatic door is present, at least one door allowing entry for customers shall remain permanently open during business hours;
    • All businesses must provide hand sanitizing stations at at least one entrance; and
    • Allow employees whose job functions permit them to work within the confines of their own home to do such.
  4. This Declaration hereby orders the closing of the following:
    • Personal service businesses or one-to-one businesses including, but not limited to, tanning salons, tattoo and body piercing parlors, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, massage parlors, and massage activities ancillary to another business unless prescribed by a professional health care provider.
    • All meeting spaces to include those in residential, hotel, or outdoor spaces.
  5. All public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except as otherwise provided herein. Nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.  A gathering is defined as an assembly or meeting, especially a social or festive one, or one held for a specific purpose.
  6. Restaurants with or without drive-in or drive-through services and microbreweries, micro-distilleries, or wineries may only provide take out, delivery, or drive-through services as allowed by law.
  7. Religious and worship services may only be provided by video and teleconference. Religious institutions must limit in-person staff to ten (10) people or less when preparing for or conducting video or teleconference services, and all individuals must follow the Social Distancing Guidelines including the six-foot social distance.
  8. All elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures are prohibited anywhere in Erath County. 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 .


For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following “Essential Activities”:

  1. 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 (for example, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies needed to work from home).
  2. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others (for example: food, pet supply, and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences) .
  3. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements of six feet (for example, walking, biking, hiking, or running).
  4. To perform work or travel to and from jobs, including construction or agricultural services, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements of six feet.
  5. To care for a family member or pet in another household.


Childcare facilities may continue to operate under the following guidelines:

  1. Child’s temperature must be checked upon entrance and children with a temperature will not be allowed in. Temperature will be taken throughout the day in at least 90 minute intervals and children will be sent home if fever exists.
  • Childcare must be carried out in groups of 10 or fewer each day.
  • No interchanging of groups of children.
  • If more than one group is at a facility, each group must be in a separate room (no mixing of groups).
  • Each provider must stay with only one group and not change.


Grocery stores, supermarkets, warehouse stores, hospitals, and medical facilities are experiencing high levels of demand for a large number of products, requiring more deliveries from manufacturers and distribution centers to serve their customers. A number of Texas cities and local associations have implemented restrictions on delivery hours to stores to mitigate truck noise and traffic. Due to the need to deliver products as quickly and efficiently as possible during this critical timeframe, this Order hereby suspends all delivery hour restrictions for transport to or from any entity involved in the selling or distribution of food products, medicine, or medical supplies in Erath County for the next 60 days.


This Declaration hereby orders that, in an effort allow for a safer shopping environment and allow sufficient opportunity to find the goods they need, 6:00 am until 10:00 am, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, are hereby designated as shopping times exclusively for those age 60 or over in all grocery stores, general goods stores, and dollar-type stores.   This excludes hardware stores, pharmacies, and other soft goods stores. Those over the age of 60 may shop at any other time if they wish.


Due to increased demand for bath or toilet tissue resulting from stock-up buying and individuals who purchase for resale, a mandatory limit on toilet paper sales is instituted until the supply chain meets the demand or two weeks, whichever comes first. All sales of bath or toilet tissue occurring in Erath County are limited to the greater of a) twelve (12) rolls per purchase or b) one (1) package per purchase.


If someone in a household has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), the household is ordered to isolate at home. Members of the household cannot go to work, school, or any other community function outside the home. Any person who is sick, experiencing common COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, or shortness of breath are hereby ordered to stay home and follow Center for Disease Control Guidelines on how to discontinue home isolation.


Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities are instructed by this order to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation.


The City of Stephenville will not terminate utility services for the duration of this declaration.  The City of Stephenville will designate funds in the amount of $250,000 to help stimulate all restaurants and personal service businesses within the city of Stephenville.


This Order shall become effective at 11:59 p.m. on March 25, 2020, and shall remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 1, 2020, or until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law.


The City of Stephenville must promptly provide copies of this Order by posting on the city’s website. In addition, the owner, manager, or operator of any facility that is likely to be impacted by this Order is strongly encouraged to post a copy of this Order onsite and to provide a copy to any member of the public asking for a copy.


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 the remaining portions or applications of this Order.


A person who knowingly or intentionally violates this declaration commits an offense, punishable by a fine of not less than $50.00 and not more than $2,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days.


  1. Any ordinance, order, or regulation that would prevent temporary sheltering and housing by the City of Stephenville, Texas, or the Federal Government in response to the declared disaster are suspended or modified as necessary to make these regulations effective.
  2. Any ordinance or regulation imposing a time requirement for approving or denying an application or for appealing a County Court or Administrative decision is tolled.
  3. Any ordinances or regulations that conflict with these regulations are suspended or modified as necessary to make these regulations effective.
  4. Suspension or modification of the ordinances and regulations shall remain in effect until these regulations are terminated or until the state of disaster is terminated, whichever is sooner.


This declaration hereby authorizes the use of all lawfully available enforcement tools.

ORDERED THIS the 25th day of March, 2020.


Vulnerable Populations: Limit Outings

  • Vulnerable populations include people who are:
    • 60 years old and older.
    • People with certain health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease and weakened immune systems.
  • For vulnerable populations, don’t go to gatherings unless it is essential. Stay home. Avoid people who are sick.

Workplace and Businesses: Minimize Exposure

  • Suspend nonessential employee travel.
  • Ensure employees practice social distancing and do not work within six feet of one another.
  • Urge essential employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
  • Do not require a doctor’s note for employees who are sick.
  • Maximize telecommuting options.
  • Persons who need to be at work to provide essential services of great benefit to the community must take steps in their workplace to minimize risk.

Cancel Non-Essential Events

  • Cancel non-essential events.
  • Do not attend any events or gatherings if sick.
  • For events that aren’t cancelled, we recommend:
    • Having hand washing capabilities, hand sanitizers and tissues available.
    • Frequently cleaning high touch surface areas like counter tops and hand rails.
    • Finding ways to implement social distancing.

Schools: Safety First

  • Do not have your child attend school if sick.
  • If you have a child with chronic health conditions, consult the child’s doctor about school attendance.
  • Schools should equip all classrooms with hand sanitizers and tissues.
  • Recommend rescheduling or cancelling events that are not essential.
  • Explore remote teaching and online options to continue learning.
  • Schools should develop a plan for citywide school closures, and families should prepare for further closures.

Transit: Cleaning and Protection

  • Increase cleaning of vehicles and high touch surface areas.
  • Provide hand washing/hand sanitizers and tissues in stations and on vehicles.
  • Ensure social distancing practices are implemented to the full extent possible.

Health Care Settings: Avoid as possible, protect the vulnerable

  • Long-term care facilities should have a COVID-19 plan in accordance with CDC or state guidelines.
  • Long-term care facilities should restrict all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life situations.
  • The general public should avoid going to medical settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, even if you are not ill.
  • If you are ill, call your health care provider ahead of time, and you may be able to be served by phone.
  • Do not visit emergency rooms unless it is essential.
  • Follow guidance and directions of all facilities.

Everyone: Do your part

The best way for all residents to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump or wave.
  • If you have recently returned from a country, state or region with ongoing COVID-19 infections, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials and CDC guidance.
  • There is no recommendation to wear masks at this time to prevent yourself from getting sick.

You can also prepare for the disruption caused by an outbreak. Preparedness actions include:

  • Prepare to work from home if that is possible for your job, and your employer.
  • Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your family.
  • Prepare a child care plan if you or a caregiver are sick.
  • Make arrangements about how your family will manage school closures.
  • Plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself.
  • Take care of each other and check in by phone with friends, family and neighbors that are vulnerable to serious illness or death if they get COVID-19.
  • Keep common spaces clean to help maintain a healthy environment for you and others. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly with disinfecting sprays, wipes or common household cleaning products.