Williamson County officials said the county will follow Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order issued April 27, which allow businesses to reopen in phases while minimizing the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a news release.
“Governor Abbott is leading Texas in a positive direction, and the orders are reasonable and thoughtful. In the days ahead, you will see Williamson County stand strong and respond to this new direction, while staying vigilant to protect the most vulnerable in our community,” Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said in the release.
Under the state’s Phase 1 of reopening, certain services and activities are allowed to open with limited occupancy. The Texas Department of State Health Services is issuing minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow. The state provided special guidance for Texans over the age of 65 and detailed a comprehensive mitigation plan for nursing homes in Texas to follow.
More details on Abbott’s plan and standards for individuals, employees and businesses can be found here.
Abbott also announced a statewide testing and tracing program developed by the DSHS that will help public health officials quickly identify and test Texans who contract COVID-19 to mitigate further spread of the virus, the release said.
To increase testing capabilities and offer more testing to our residents, Williamson County is opening several testing sites throughout the county, the release said. The first site will open April 30, and it will be led by Williamson County and Cities Health District personnel. Those who wish to be tested must first complete an online assessment.
The county encourages residents to continue practicing social distancing, avoid crowds and limit physical contact even as businesses begin to open, the release said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that residents use cloth face coverings in public to help slow the spread of the virus, it said.
John William Hellerstedt, the chief medical officer with the DSHS, recommends all residents continue to follow these critical health guidelines:
- stay home if you can;
- wash hands often and for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;
- cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and
- disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, doorknobs and other places touched often. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Although the “Stay Home Stay Safe” order is expiring, the county’s local disaster declaration is still in effect. Williamson County elected officials and department heads are making plans for the reopening of county offices, and information will be available on the county website as it becomes available, the release said.