To slow the spread of COVID-19, the city of New Braunfels announced additional measures and business closures on Sunday, March 22, mostly pertaining to personal care services. The new order also reinforces that businesses still operating must maintain six feet between customers, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor.
“We had enforcement and inspection staff out over the weekend assuring our local businesses knew about the order first. Those not yet aware, were understanding in their compliance efforts," said City Manager Robert Camareno in a press release announcing the closures.
These orders will remain active until the State of Disaster declared by the city, March 17, expire or are rescinded by City Council. The original closure order was set to last until April 3, although it has the potential to be extended. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 23.
“We continue to evaluate the outbreak of COVID-19 across our state and coordinate with our local, county and state partners for the most recent information and professional advice." said Mayor Barron Casteel in the announcement. "This is a wise next step in the protection of our community.”
The additional closures that go into effect at 11:59 p.m., March 22, include the following businesses:
- Massage parlors
- Nail, hair and beauty salons
- Barber shops
- Hair removal services
- Tattoo and piercing parlors
- All other non-medical, personal care services that cannot be provided while maintaining six feet of distance.
Previously announced business closures are as follows:
- Bars and Lounges
- Private clubs
- Gyms or health studios
- Indoor commercial amusement businesses
- Bowling alleys
- Bingo parlors
Effective as of 11:59 p.m., March 19, all bars, lounges, nightclubs, taverns, microbreweries, micro-distilleries, wineries, private clubs, gyms or health studios, indoor commercial amusement businesses, bowling alleys, bingo parlors and theaters in New Braunfels must close until at least April 3.
According to a press release from the city of New Braunfels, services such as dining takeout and delivery, drive-in businesses, room service or drive-through services are allowed to continue operating but are required to adhere to social distancing requirements of six feet between customers.
The edict was issued in a municipal effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus and comes on the heels of a statewide executive order announced by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier the same day, March 19.
“We took this extraordinary step to ensure public health and in support of Governor Abbott’s Executive Order this afternoon," said New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel in the release. "I appreciate the local restaurants and establishments that have already chosen to proactively close, recognizing this public health emergency. We understand the impact that this order will have on local businesses and employees, but we must join [already closed businesses] and act to protect the health of the citizens and visitors."
The biggest local step to contain the virus to date, the decision comes after more than a week of businesses struggling to adjust to public concerns.
New Braunfel's order also requires the cancellation of any gathering of 10 or more people within New Braunfels' city limits.
Businesses with exemptions to the rule include grocery stores, retail establishments, medical facilities, childcare facilities, office space, hotels, residential buildings and manufacturing facilities.
The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Comal County was announced Wednesday, March 18, and residents have continued to clear aisles at local grocery stores during panicked shopping.
Lasting until the beginning of April, the order could be extended for a longer period of time if the viral outbreak does not come under control.
City officials will endeavor to inform business owners and the public through Friday, March 20, and then enforcement measures will be instituted if people do not comply, the press release stated.
People may visit the city's website and social media accounts for updated information or can call City Hall at 830-221-4000 for additional information.