Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston declared a state of disaster, effective midnight Friday, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The declaration limits gatherings to 10 people, until further notice. A “gathering” refers to a scheduled event or common endeavor in a confined space, room or area, including churches and funerals.
Moreover, the county may take any action necessary to suppress the virus, including quarantines, examining and regulating hospitals, regulating entrances to and exits from Anderson County, establishing quarantine stations and hospitals, and enforcing the county’s directives.
Any person who knowingly or intentionally violates this declaration commits an offense punishable by a fine of up to a $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
The order follows Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order to, among other things, close gyms and ban gatherings of 10 or more, as well as entering restaurants and bars.
“The State has quarantine authority now,” Abbott said. “We don’t want to have to exercise it, but we will if we have to.”
Abbott’s order states people should not visit nursing homes or retirement centers, unless for critical assistance. All schools are temporarily closed.
Grapeland Superintendent Don Jackson said school districts must change how they provide food and educational information to students by working on a rotating schedule, and with groups of ten or less.
The governors order does not prohibit shopping in grocery stores or gas stations, or visiting parks and banks.