Morris County Judge declares local state of disaster, game rooms to close at midnight March 20
Morris County Judge Doug Reeder has signed a Declaration of Local State Disaster due to COVID-19. The declaration includes issues regarding quarantine, and insuring compliance with the declaration. The declaration also calls for the closure of all game rooms, effective at midnight tonight, for the duration of the declaration.
COUNTY OF MORRIS, TEXAS
COUNTY JUDGE DECLARATION OF LOCAL STATE OF DISASTER
DUE TO PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
WHEREAS, a novel coronavirus, now designated SARS-CoV2 which causes the disease COVID-19, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization; and
WHEREAS, the symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe illness and cause further complications including death; and
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that person-to-person contact heightens the risk of COVID-19 transmission; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States issued a proclamation declaring that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the Governor of the State of Texas issued a proclamation certifying that COVID-19 poses an imminent threat of disaster in the state and declaring a state of disaster for all counties in Texas; and
WHEREAS, The Commissioners Court of Morris County, Texas, have previously determined that Game Rooms, as defined by the Morris County Game Room Regulations adopted on January 13, 2020, pose public health, safety, and welfare concerns to the citizens of Morris County.
WHEREAS, Morris County, Texas, is taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of this potentially devastating disease in our community; and
WHEREAS, said state of disaster requires that certain emergency protective measures be taken pursuant to the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 relating to Emergency Management and Public Health, pursuant to Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED BY THE COUNTY JUDGE OF MORRIS COUNTY, TEXAS:
SECTION 1. That a local state of disaster for public health emergency is hereby declared for Morris County, Texas, pursuant to Section 418.108(a) of the Texas Government Code.
SECTION 2. That pursuant to Section 418.108(b) of the Texas Government Code the state of disaster for public health emergency shall continue for a period of not more than seven (7) days from the date of this declaration, unless approved by the Commissioners Court of Morris County, Texas.
SECTION 3. That pursuant to Section 418.108(c) of the Texas Government Code this declaration of a local state of disaster for public health emergency shall be given prompt and general publicity and shall be filed promptly with the County Clerk.
SECTION 4. That pursuant to Section 418.108(d) of the Texas Government Code, this declaration of a local state of disaster activates the Morris County, Texas, emergency management plan, and authorizes the furnishing of aid and assistance under the declaration.
SECTION 5. That this declaration authorizes the County to take any actions necessary to promote health and suppress the virus, including the quarantine of persons and occupied structures, examining and regulating hospitals, regulating ingress and egress from the County, regulating ingress and egress to occupied structures, establishment of quarantine stations, emergency hospitals, and other hospitals, and insuring compliance for those who do not comply with the County’s rules and directives.
SECTION 6. That all Game Rooms, as defined by the Morris County Game Room Regulations adopted on January 13, 2020, shall be closed beginning at 11:59 p.m. on March 20, 2020, and continuing until such time as this declaration of disaster shall expire. Game Rooms which are operated within other businesses, such as convenience stores and restaurants, may continue operations of those other businesses pursuant to the President and Governor’s proclamations, as long as all games are nonoperational.
SECTION 7. In accordance with Texas Government Code §418.173, a person who knowingly or intentionally violates this declaration commits an offense, punishable by a fine up to $1,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days.
SECTION 8. That this declaration hereby authorizes the use of all lawfully available enforcement tools.
SECTION 9. That this declaration shall take effect immediately from and after its issuance and, upon approval by the Commissioners Court, shall continue in effect until terminated by the County Judge. Pursuant to this declaration, additional directives may be issued by the County Judge at any time as deemed necessary.