As of today, Monday, Mar. 16, San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson signed an Order to Prohibit any public or private community gathering of 50 persons or more anywhere within the City of San Marcos effective at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 17 and continuing until May 11, 2020. The authority for this Order is pursuant to Chapter 418 in the Texas Local Government Code, and follows the recent updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and recommendations from the Hays County Health Department.
The complete signed order is attached to this press release for public review. A Community Gathering does not include spaces where 50 or more persons may be in transit on buses, trains or airplanes; or waiting for transit, such as airports, bus stops or terminals. In addition, it does not pertain to office space or residential buildings; grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, or other retail establishments; hospitals, medical offices and facilities; schools or institutes of higher learning.
The Community Gathering criteria is in accordance with recommendations made by the CDC on Sunday, March 15. The decision about school closures is currently the responsibility of the local school districts. As of Monday, March 16, 2020, San Marcos CISD announced that it would be closed until April 5, 2020.
As of 5 p.m. today, the City will also close the San Marcos Public Library, Activity Center, Senior Center, Discovery Center, and will adjust operations at the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter until Monday, May 11. All City sponsored public gatherings, 50+/Senior Programs, and programs of more than 50 people will also be canceled with the remainder of City facilities and parks remaining open for normal business hours.
The City offers many online resources for San Marcos residents and a complete list of those with links may be found at www.sanmarcostx.gov/remotebusiness. Alternate options for resident access to services, such as those at the Library, are being evaluated by staff and will be shared with residents this week. The public is encouraged to practice social distancing and to utilize phone and computer access to services whenever possible.
“This is a fluid, evolving situation and we’ve taken these actions to follow the most recent guidelines from our national and regional health authorities,” said Mayor Jane Hughson. “At this time, we would rather operate with extreme caution for our facilities and public facing operations that accommodate the largest number of daily residents, in order to do our part in halting the spread of COVID-19 within our community.”
The City of San Marcos, in coordination with Hays County, declared a state of disaster on Sunday, Mar. 15 which allowed the City to activate its emergency plan and to utilize all disaster funding and resources available through state and federal agencies.
City Council Meeting: The Council meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 17 will continue as scheduled with a Special Meeting beginning at 3 p.m. to extend the effective date of the March 15 Disaster Declaration and to update the public on COVID-19 efforts. The public is encouraged to send written public comment by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and to watch the live stream of the meeting at www.sanmarcostx.gov/videos or on the Government channel on Grande channel 16 and Spectrum channel 10 beginning at 3 p.m. Written citizen comment will be accepted up to 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
Boards & Commissions: With the exception of City Council, Planning & Zoning Commission, and Historic Preservation Commission all other board and commission meetings will be canceled through May 11. Agendas for Council, P&Z, and HPC will be evaluated and meetings may be canceled according to the urgency of scheduled items. These meetings are live-streamed and available for remote viewing through computer, phone and government cable channels.
Municipal Court: The Court will be resetting all dockets scheduled through April 1 until a later date. Defendants who have an appearance date noted on their citation from now through April 1, 2020, and have not scheduled a court date yet, may call the court at 512.393.8190 to do so. The Municipal Court Customer service counter at the Hays County Government Center, 712 S Stagecoach Trail, will be open to the public during regular scheduled business hours, and will adjust their Wednesday closing time to 5 p.m. rather than 8 p.m. The court also accepts payments over the phone and via the website at http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/696/Payments.
Utility Customers & Payment Options: The City has suspended disconnections due to the effects COVID-19 may have on utility customers due to displacement, employment disruption and other unexpected results. Utility customers may pay their bill by phone at 512.393.8333 or online at https://ipn.paymentus.com/cp/csmu.
With the recent school closures, the City is coordinating Telework options for staff, alternating shifts when feasible, and coordinating with staff who may have childcare needs based on school or daycare closures. The City is also continuing to evaluate employee status and safety, and implementing measures needed for public facing operations and social distancing, canceling non-essential business travel, asking employees to report personal travel.
Contact your healthcare provider or the Hays County Local Health Department at 512.393.5520 if you have any questions about COVID-19 or if you are concerned that you have been exposed. The Hays County Health Department has a monitoring protocol in place which will be explained to you if warranted. If you are experiencing symptoms, health professionals recommend calling ahead and consulting with your physician’s office prior to arrival.
San Marcos will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the State Department of Health Services, the Hays County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control. Current updates and helpful links may be found at www.sanmarcostx.gov/covid19info.