The Parker County commissioners unanimously approved a 30-day declaration of local disaster order in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s urgent where we are right now — we do have a confirmed case that is in Parker County,” Parker County Judge Pat Deen said at Monday's meeting. “I continue to get an immense amount of comments from people pushing for a shelter in place [order], some action from the county. People are in desperate need of information, demanding their local government take action and the circumstances have changed.”

The declaration will place new restrictions in effect at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The new restrictions include the closing of all nail salons, hair salons and barber shops, spas, tattoo and piercing parlors, massage salons, vaping establishments, theaters, gyms, lounges, bars, event centers, bingo halls, commercial amusement and retail stores that do not sell essential household goods. The declaration limits the size of gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Those who violate the order can be fined up to $1,000 or receive no more than 180 days in jail. Parker County Emergency Management Coordinator Sean Hughes they don't want to have to fine people. 

"We would much rather people voluntarily comply. We don't want to have to do that, but if someone continues to run their nail salon in the county, we're going to go talk to them and encourage them to shut down and follow the guidance of not only the judge, but the governor," Hughes said. "We need help stressing that six-foot distancing. If you're home, that's a little different because you're with your family, so that's not what that's about. It's six-feet outside of your house. If you and your significant other want to go jogging and you reside together, there's no reason you can't go jog. You can go to the grocery store and get your groceries, but stay six feet away from people."

Hughes said the declaration is almost verbatim to that of Tarrant County’s, which was signed by Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley on March 21.

“This does support the governor’s executive order. My recommendation is this is appropriate at this time,” Hughes said. “[The governor] made it very clear that out of the counties in the state of Texas, 200 do not have a case.”

Hughes said he will be meeting with cities in the western part of Parker County to discuss the passing of local city disaster declarations, which have already been done by the cities of Weatherford, Hudson Oaks, Willow Park and Springtown.

The 30-day order can be rescinded or superseded at any time by the commissioners court. The commissioners are able to hold emergency meetings with just one-hour of notice.

The full order can be found on the county’s website at parkercountytx.com.

Below is a list of Parker County essential services that are unaffected by the Declaration of Local Disaster.

• Public Safety, Police, Fire, EMS Dispatchers, Public Works, Utilities

• Health care operations and essential infrastructure

• Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks and pet supply stores

• Farming and fishing operations

• Businesses that provide food, shelter and social services

• The media

• Gas stations, car and bike repair businesses, and towing services

• Banks and related financial institutions

• Hardware stores

• Hotels &Motels

• Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who maintain the safety, sanitation and essential services needed in homes and businesses

• Businesses that provide mailing, shipping and delivery services

• Laundromats, dry cleaners and industrial laundry services

• Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food for delivery or carry out

• Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home

• Businesses that supply other essential businesses with supply

• Airlines, taxis and other private transportation providers

• Home-based care for seniors, adults or children

• Residential facilities and shelters

• Professional services, including legal, accounting, real estate and other services

• Childcare facilities

• Businesses that provide food, shelter and other needs for animals

• Funeral, mortuary, cremation and related services

• Construction services

• Critical labor union functions

• Licensed private detectives, guards and similar agencies

NOTE: Essential services must still comply with the other provisions contained in the Emergency Declaration.

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