Chambers County is taking action, including enacting executive orders to limit the number of people at gatherings, in hopes of curtailing the COVID-19 virus.
The orders within the proclamation go into effect today. The county is taking emergency measures based on the Texas Disaster Act of 1975.
In the executive order, it states no more than 10 people can gather at public places. Chambers County officials said the orders are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gov. Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump.
“In addition, the COVID-19 response is a rapidly changing and fluid situation,” the order read. “For this reason, guidance and direction is subject to change as conditions change.”
The gatherings include places such as restaurants, bars, theaters, entertainment venues, daycares and businesses. It also encompasses land as well as any buildings or structures on it. The total number of people also includes employees.
Officials stated the business does not have to close entirely, just restrict the number of people to no more than 10.
The order also encourages restaurants to provide take-out services as well as drive-thru, curbside and delivery.
Critical infrastructure industries are not affected by the order. Healthcare services, pharmaceutical, grocery stores, fuel stations, financial institutions, and governmental facilities have to remain open, according to the order.
Chambers County officials stated certain facilities and infrastructures have to remain open for the “continuity of government and to help meet the basic needs of the community.”
“We understand these are trying times, and it is very stressful for everyone,” the order stated. “However, if the community continues to work as a team and follows Public Health Guidelines, we will get through the COVID-19 disaster together.”
Denise Hutter, the Chambers County tax assessor-collector, issued a statement saying the Mont Belvieu and Winnie offices are closed to the public until further notice.
The Anahuac office will have new hours starting Monday. It will remain open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for drive-thru customers only. Anyone with title work should place it in an envelope, fill out the forms completely, have a copy of their driver’s licenses, and include a phone number as well as payment. If there is a long line, paperwork can be placed in a dropbox on the building’s north side. Call 409-267-2763 if you need assistance.
The county has also closed all county-owned rental facilities until April 28. The county parks remain open.
Judge Randy McDonald’s 344th District is closed for the next two weeks, and no county court judicial proceedings are to be held until April 28. In addition, county solid waste permit renewals are suspended until April 28. If you have a sticker that has expired, you will be allowed to dump. If you need a new sticker, you can purchase one as normal.
County jail visits are also suspended for family and friends until further notice. Lawyers and members of law enforcement are still allowed to visit inmates.
For Commissioners Court, meetings are still open to the public. County Judge Jimmy Sylvia issued an order Wednesday saying anyone exhibiting signs or symptoms of the illness is not to be allowed in the building. Everyone will be screened prior to entering the courtroom.
Chambers County’s orders also addressed shopping.
“Please exercise courtesy and consideration for others, especially vulnerable populations, when shopping during the COVID-19 disaster,” a county press release stated. “Please exercise social distancing, and limit your shopping trip to one family member to reduce the chances of exposure. Please limit purchasing large quantities of the same item, so others have a chance to get the items they need as well.”
Some stores in Chambers County are staying open with altered their hours in the wake of the coronavirus.
In Anahuac, B&B Foods will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Bi-Rite Supermarket will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
In West Chambers County, the H.E.B. Grocery store will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until further notice. The local Walmart will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
In Winnie, the Market Basket will remain open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Those hours are subject to change.