Morris County Judge issues amended Declaration of Local State Disaster
Morris County Judge Doug Reeder has issued an amended disaster Declaration for Morris County. The revised regulations pertain primarily to Social Distancing in Businesses and Religious Services, penalties and enforcement.
The revised order keeps all regulations from the original March 20 order in effect, unless they are superseded in the revised order.
The portion of the revised order listing the new requirements is listed below.
SECTION 2. Social Distancing Requirements. For purposes of this Order, Social Distancing Requirements include no gatherings of over 10 people, maintaining at least a six-foot distance from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible, or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and/or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbows, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.
SECTION 3. Businesses Open to the Public Must Enforce Certain Requirements. Any business in Morris County open to the general public must immediately develop a written plan for enforcement of the following requirements during the hours such businesses are open to the public.
A. Procedures for maintaining at least six-foot distance from other individuals, including outside the immediate entrance of the business, as well as inside the building.
B. Procedures for ensuring the regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces within the business.
C. Procedures the business will use to enforce such requirements.
D. A copy of the written plan shall be posted for public display on the front door of the business or storefront window, with a name, signature, and phone number of the owner or manager.
All grocery stores, hardware stores, general stores, dollar stores, and convenience stores that sell food products and/or household staples and hardware supplies must include, as an element of their respective plans, a means of limiting the number of customers in the business at one time, so that the above distancing requirements may be ensured.
Said written plan must be presentable for immediate inspection to any peace officer who requests it.
SECTION 4. Religious Services. Religious services are allowed and highly encouraged as long as services comply with the social distancing requirements outlined in Section 2 above. This order does not prohibit alternative means of worship such as online services, or “drive-in” services held in church parking lots where worshippers remain in their vehicles, and social distancing requirements, outlined in Section 2 above are adhered to. Any church conducting a religious service (other than an online or digital service) shall immediately develop a written plan as described in Section 3 above.
SECTION 5 Order & Penalties.
A. These emergency regulations shall have the effect of and constitute an Order by the Morris County Judge, under the local emergency management plan, when duly filed with the County Clerk. This Order is adopted in accordance with the authority vested in the Morris County Judge by Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code.
B. Any orders, ordinances, or regulations are suspended or modified as necessary to make these regulations effective. Any person or entity who knowingly or intentionally violates this Order commits an offense punishable by a fine up to $1,000.00 and confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days.
SECTION 6 Enforcement. That this declaration hereby authorizes the use of all lawfully available enforcement tools.
SECTION 7. That this declaration shall take effect April 5, 2020 at 12:01 A.M. and shall continue in effect through April 30, 2020, unless terminated earlier or extended by the County Judge. Pursuant to this declaration, additional directives may be issued by the County Judge at any time as deemed necessary.
DECLARED this 3rd day of April, 2020.
Doug Reeder, County Judge
Morris County, Texas