Release date: 03/31/2020
Governor Gregg Abbott spoke to the State today at 2 pm. He modified his previous executive order with executive order GA-14, which is posted below. Remember, where the City order and the Governor’s order conflict, the Governor’s order takes precedence.
Governor Abbott reported at this time while Texans are doing so well combatting this Virus instead of letting up, we need to “redouble our efforts” to make sure we beat this Virus. So, what’s changed?
- Two days ago, President Donald Trump extended his guidelines to April 30, 2020;
- Governor Abbott extended his original Executive Order beginning April 2, 2020, through April 30, 2020;
- This order redefines essential services/businesses as pointed out by Homeland Security and shared on the TDEMS designated website;
- There is a process by which a business can seek essential status via that website (as of now, this process supersedes the City’s appeal process);
- Visiting an essential business is considered an essential/permitted activity (just like it is within our local order);
- Physical activity like “biking, jogging, hunting, and fishing” are permitted activities (just like the City order states);
- Religious activities may continue over video or other electronic means. Churches can meet in person, but must follow guidelines as pointed out by the President and the CDC (namely social distancing, etc.);
- Some churches requested drive-up services where the family unit remains inside their vehicle, and the service is broadcasted. Governor Abbott stated this type of service was also permissible;
- Domestic travel is permitted;
- Non-essential businesses are allowed and encouraged to operate from home over technology;
- Governor’s Executive Order is set to expire April 30, 2020;
- Texas schools are scheduled to return to normal May 4, 2020;
- A violation of this order is a Class B Misdemeanor meaning you face a fine up to $1,000.00 and up to 180 days in jail or both. This penalty is more strict than the one enacted by City Coucil;
- Where this order is in conflict with the City of Aransas Pass order, this order supersedes and nullifies the conflict in the City of Aransas Pass order.
View the Governor’s updated order below.
Are you experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 Coronavirus? If so, call your local doctor, call a local emergency room, or call the San Patricio County Health Authority at 361-587-3530 for further examination or testing.
Remember to monitor City happenings regularly as it pertains to localized activities or decisions resulting from this event. The City has a webpage dedicated to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and our local response. Click here to read more.
Previous Information Releases
Release date: 03/27/2020
By now, most realized that all three counties that make up Aransas Pass have issued Stay at Home orders. Each one different from the other. As a City, the council feels it is important that Aransas Pass enact an order that meets the needs of the city and citizens which encompasses the entire jurisdiction as a whole.
This evening City Council approved a Stay at Home order that applies to the entire City Limits of Aransas Pass. Download and view the order in its entirety.
The following highlights are a summary of the order:
- The order takes effect Saturday 3/28/2020 at 11:59 pm and expires on Wednesday, 04/8/2020 at 11:59 pm unless extended by council action.
- Beaches and parks remain open for exercise and safe recreation. (kayaking, boating, and fishing are approved activities.) Social distancing is required during such activity.
- Camping on the Flats (east of Dale Miller Bridge) is strictly forbidden. This means the 3-day grace period is suspended during this time.
- Child and Adult care facilities are considered essential and may continue operating under the guidance of their licensing authority.
- This order does not impact child custody orders or agreements.
- Any non-essential business or industry seeking exemption from this order must contact the Office of the Mayor.
- Aransas Pass law enforcement will only enforce this order. All other orders, if enforced, shall be enforced by law enforcement associated with that issuing entity.
- REMEMBER, in accordance with Texas State law, price gouging during a time of disaster is illegal. To report violations, visit this link.
Release date: 03/24/2020
The Police Department has modified operational procedures and it’s important we share some of these changes with you:
- Non-emergency requests for police service will now be handled over the phone. Dispatch will screen the call for the best policing response. If you need us, we’re still here for you. Call us at 361-758-5224.
- Open Records requests have been suspended. You can still submit your records request online, but our response will be delayed until non-essential services have been restored.
- In-lobby reporting is still available. Officers and staff will communicate with the reportee through the security glass within the lobby. Be sure to pick up the lobby phone and alert us of your presence.">
- All approved arrests will be transported directly to their respective county jail in the county of arrest or warrant. We are not holding inmates locally at this time.
- The police department seeks to drive down expenses during this time and assist with city wide budgeting considerations. As a result, certain non-essential services and business transactions are suspended. Learn more about budget implications here.
Chief Chats Live on Facebook…
Today, at noon, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that goes into effect tomorrow at midnight. In brief, the order imposes the following:
- Limits social gatherings to 10 people;
- Closes bars and gyms along with dining in at restaurants. Restaurants may deliver food and alcohol to patrons.
- Closes off nursing homes to visitors except to provide critical care.
- Closes Texas schools.
This order shall remain in effect until April 3, 2020, but could be extended. The Governor emphasized that this is not a shelter-in-place.
What does this mean for Aransas Pass? The city held a department head staff meeting shortly after the Governor spoke. Mayor Ram Gomez and Chamber Director Rosemary Vega were in attendance. The following operational changes will soon take place:
- The City Library, Civic Center, and pool will close or remain closed during this period;
- Public works, Building Department, City Hall, and Municipal Court will be closed to the public. They will, however, be doing business by phone and over the internet. You can click on the one you’d like to do business with for more details. For general information by phone, call 361-758-5301 (City Hall).
- The Police Department lobby will remain open for essential services.
- The Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce Director Rosemary Vega and her team will be reaching out to local businesses to apprise them of these updates.
There are a few remaining issues that seem to keep coming up. We hope the following will help clarify and provide you with the best information we have at this time:
- Domestic supply lines for food, water, dry goods, and essentials are working. Many of the shortages experienced are due to panic buying. The closings announced above, DO NOT apply to stores, nor is that expected.
- If you or someone you know has found themselves unemployed due to this crisis, visit the Texas Workforce Commission’s website for more information.
- For the latest information on this virus, visit the CDC’s webpage on COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Good afternoon, AP. I have taken drastic steps within the police department and to our daily operations to better protect staff, continue providing public safety services, and minimize the financial burden that public safety enforcement imposes on the community. As a result, the following temporary actions are in effect beginning today:
- Officers and staff will increase the gap between the employee and another when it comes to communicating with the public. Don’t be offended if the employee seems distant by not shaking hands or touching documents or effects shared with them;
- The police department has suspended the following public services:
- Notary Services;
- Wide-scale training including LTC courses;
- Police department administrative fees and fines have been suspended. These fees/fines include the following (fee waiver does not apply to all businesses; inquire for details):
- Alarm Permit or Administrative Violation fees thereof;
- Accident Report fees;
- Taxi Driver Permit fees;
- Animal Control Service fees.
- Fee waivers for body camera footage requests will be considered on a case by case basis by the Chief or Assistant Chief of Police;
These temporary changes will be reviewed for validity on April 15th, 2020 and may be either terminated or extended.
My goal of instituting these modifications is not to create an undue burden on the community but rather to support the effort to minimize the overall health and financial impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. If any of these special directives to staff creates a burden on you or your family, my office is open to your feedback. You can share that feedback or concern by calling me at 361-758-5224 or emailing me via this web form.
– Chief Blanchard