Photo courtesy of the City of Wichita Falls YouTube channel
In an emergency meeting Friday morning, Wichita Falls City Council announced a shelter-in-place ordinance for Wichita Falls that will take effect March 27 at 11:59 p.m. and will last until April 8 at 1 p.m. “unless terminated or modified by a subsequent order.”
Non-compliance will result in a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to 180 days in jail.
Under this ordinance, social distancing requirements include: at least a six-foot distance from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), and regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces and not shaking hands.
Listed below are activities and operations that will still be permitted under the shelter in place ordinance. Here is a list of items which may impact MSU Students the most. The following comes directly from the order approved by the Wichita Falls City Council. A complete list can be found at the end of the article.
Supplies and services – groceries and food, including pet supplies and food, supplies needed to work from home, household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences.
Outdoor activity – walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements. Prohibited outdoor activity – playground equipment, public picnic tables, public basketball courts and other public sports, and recreational equipment.
To take care of others – caring for a family member or pet in another household.
Essential government functions
All services needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public and all agencies that provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public. The City Manager shall determine its Essential Government Functions and identify employees and/or contractors necessary to perform those functions.
Health care – caregivers, hospital and laboratory personnel, pharmacy employees, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, and related retail sales or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services, along with veterinary care.
Stores that sell groceries and other essential supplies – grocery stores, supermarkets, big-box stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores, liquor stores and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, poultry and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products).
Social services and charitable organizations – businesses that provide food, shelter, social services and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.
News media – newspapers, television, radio and other news services.
Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation – gas stations, auto-manufacturing and assembly, auto mechanics, auto-supply, auto-repair and other related facilities.
Financial institutions – banks and related financial institutions, consumer lenders, sales and finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, pawnshops, entities that issue bonds, insurance companies, underwriters, agents, brokers and related insurance claims and agents.
Hardware and supply stores – hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and other material necessary to support essential businesses, critical infrastructure and essential government functions.
Critical trades – plumbers, electricians, exterminators, pool cleaners and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences’ essential activities.
Mail and delivery services – businesses providing mailing and shipping services including post office boxes.
Laundry services – laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers.
Restaurants for consumption off-premises – restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food or alcohol, but only for delivery, drive-through or carry out. All individuals who obtain food or beverages from these establishments are required to leave the premises of said establishment within five minutes of receiving their food or beverage.
Supplies to work from home – businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home.
Food delivery services – businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residents.
Transportation – aircraft, taxis, and other private transportation providers (such as Uber and Lyft) that provide transportation services necessary for the performance of essential activities, essential businesses, critical infrastructure, essential government functions or essential travel.
Home-based care and services – home-based care for seniors, adults or children including caregivers who may travel to provide care.
Residential facilities and shelters – residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, children and animals
Professional services – professional services, such as legal or accounting services, and insurance services when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities or to further essential businesses, essential government functions or critical infrastructure.
Lawn maintenance services – essential lawn maintenance services are limited to the mowing of weeds and grass and to the emergency removal of trees and limbs that pose a health and safety hazard.
Educational institutions – educational institutions-including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing other essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible.
Childcare facilities – must operate under the following mandatory conditions:
Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 10 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
Children shall not change from one group to another.
If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.
Individuals engaged in any essential travel must comply with all social distancing requirements:
Any travel related to the provision of or access to essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses, critical infrastructure or minimum basic operations.
Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.
Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals or any other related services.
Travel to retain from or to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction (e.g., returning home from a closing university).
Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
Travel by church staff/clergy for the purpose of producing of remote delivery of religious services or other ministries requiring travel.
Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the city.
For a copy of the full agenda at today’s Wichita Falls City Council Special Meeting, click the link below.