Lufkin Issues ‘Stay-Home, Stay-Safe’ Order Starting Thursday Night
The City of Lufkin has issued to what amounts to as a 'shelter-in-place' order that will become effective by late Thursday night. Here's the official release concerning the 'Stay-Home, Stay-Safe order:
The order, which is the same as a “shelter-in-place” order, goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday and requires citizens to stay home.
This morning members of the medical community urged city officials to adopt a stay-at-home order, citing a surge of patients with COVID-19-like symptoms. As of 11 a.m. today, the Angelina County & Cities Health District was waiting on the test results of nearly 70 symptomatic people, according to the city’s Director of Public Safety Gerald Williamson.
“This isn’t a problem that’s affecting New York or California. It’s here in Lufkin and all around us,” City of Lufkin Director of Public Safety Gerald Williamson said. “It will continue to get worse until we change our behaviors. It’s hard to do because it affects everything in our lives, but it’s what we’ve got to do.”
Under the order, travel is ONLY permitted to perform essential activities, essential government functions or to operate essential businesses as outlined in the order.
Non-essential businesses are required to close. Please refer to the city’s website for information regarding essential and non-essential businesses.
The order also establishes a citywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Essential workers are still permitted to travel during this time and must have either an identification card or documentation on company letterhead showing that they are working for an essential business. We have a form for employers to customize and use at City of Lufkin.com.
The order does make allowances for outdoor activities like jogging, biking, boating and fishing, if proper distancing is maintained. While citizens are encouraged to enjoy city parks, basketball goals will be removed, and playground equipment will be roped off to prevent the opportunity for virus spread, according to Assistant City Manager Jason Arnold.
“I’m a parks- and-rec guy at heart, so limiting recreational activities for anyone is heartbreaking, but we have to keep people safe,” Arnold said. “The more restrictive we are now, the sooner we can all get back to doing what we love.”
Other items addressed by the order:
- Every hospital, physician, health care provider or public health authority must notify the city’s Emergency Management Operations Center within 4 hours of any suspect (person under investigation i.e. “PUI”) or positive case of COVID-19. Emergency management officials will release information to the public (gender, age, believed contamination source), while protecting the patient’s identity, in the name of public safety.
- Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who lives in a home with someone who has tested positive must isolate themselves in their home until they test negative or are cleared by their doctor.
- No gatherings (parties or get-togethers including but not limited to crawfish boils, baby showers, birthday parties, anniversary parties, wedding showers or weddings) of any kind are permitted regardless of the number of attendees.
- No in-restaurant dining is allowed. Restaurants can continue with take-out and curbside service for customers.
- Religious services may only be delivered by video or teleconference. If a production team is necessary, it must be comprised of 10 or less asymptomatic (i.e. “not showing any signs or symptoms of illness”) church employees.
- All elective medical, surgical or dental procedures must be postponed or cancelled.
- Funeral services may only be conducted at the graveside and are limited to immediate, asymptomatic family members maintaining proper distance.
- Essential businesses must maintain a safety plan which is to include the store’s cleaning of high-touch surfaces and how they intend to enforce patron limitations based on the business’ square footage – 1 person per 1,000 square feet.
- Only one member of a household may enter a retail business at one time – unless the person is the caregiver of a child with no alternative childcare or if the person is handicapped and requires the assistance of a caregiver.
- Essential businesses must also screen and monitor their employees for symptoms of the virus and not allow symptomatic (i.e. “sick”) employees to work.
- Nursing homes are required to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities.
To read the order in its entirety, or for more information go to CityofLufkin.com.