Georgetown issues new local order about outdoor gatherings, special events

The order allows outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people in the city limits provided all attendees, including employees and vendors, wear face coverings over their nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of distance from people outside their household. (Community Impact file photo)
The order allows outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people in the city limits provided all attendees, including employees and vendors, wear face coverings over their nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of distance from people outside their household. (Community Impact file photo)

The order allows outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people in the city limits provided all attendees, including employees and vendors, wear face coverings over their nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of distance from people outside their household. (Community Impact file photo)

Outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people and special events are now allowed in the city limits of Georgetown, provided attendees and organizers adhere to a local order issued by Mayor Dale Ross. The order is effective immediately and is in response to and in accordance with orders issued by Gov. Greg Abbott, a Oct. 29 news release said.

The order allows outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people in the city limits provided all attendees, including employees and vendors, wear face coverings over their nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of distance from people outside their household.

Events requiring a special event permit now will be required to develop, implement and post health and safety policies detailing the steps the organizer is taking to reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19, the release said. The policy must at least require all attendees, including employees and vendors, to wear face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of distance from people outside their household. Policies also should specify other safety measures, such as taking temperatures or performing health screenings.

Outdoor gatherings and special events must comply with other existing orders. This includes Gov. Abbott’s executive orders, which speak to occupancy limits and triggers for changing responses based on hospitalizations. It also includes Georgetown’s local order issued July 3, which requires all people age 10 and older in Georgetown to wear face coverings while in public, with some exceptions.

“We recognize the good people of Georgetown want to get back to some form of normalcy after months of quarantine and closures, and we believe we’ve optimized a way for people to gather while still keeping our community safe and our hospitalizations low,” Mayor Dale Ross said. “The success and longevity of these orders hinge on two very important factors: compliance and hospitalization rates. I am confident our neighbors will adhere to these safety precautions, which are aimed at minimizing hospitalization rates and ensuring we have an adequate number of hospital beds. Georgetown, like many communities, will continue to monitor and adapt our COVID-19 medical protocols to keep our citizens as safe as possible.”


Enforcement

While the city will prioritize education, the state and local orders both allow for fines to be assessed for violations of gathering orders, the release said.

Individuals who believe the orders are being violated by individuals or businesses in Georgetown can report it to the Georgetown Police Department’s non-emergency number: 512-930-3510.

Event organizers found in violation of the order, including failure to post a health and safety policy, may be given a citation and fined up to $1,000 per offense. Individuals found in violation will be given a verbal warning upon first offense and a fine of up to $250 per additional violation, the release said.

If an event or business has a customer who is unwilling to abide by the order, the business can ask the individual to leave. If they refuse to leave, the business can call the police department’s non-emergency number, and officers will respond. No one can be jailed for violating gathering orders, but if an individual who refuses to comply refuses to leave the premises of the event or business, the individual may be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.
By Sally Grace Holtgrieve
Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019, and in addition, editor of Leander-Cedar Park in August 2020.


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