Stay-at-home guidance issued by Comal County after community spread coronavirus case confirmed

Comal County has issued guidance to combat the spread of coronavirus (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Comal County has issued guidance to combat the spread of coronavirus (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

Comal County has issued guidance to combat the spread of coronavirus (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

Comal County issued 'Stay Home/Work Safely guidance' from County Judge Sherman Krause on March 27. The guidance is not an order and asks the county's residents and businesses to voluntarily follow guidelines outlined in the executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott on March 19.

Abbott's statewide order limits social gatherings to 10 people, allows restaurants to operate in a limited capacity, closes gyms, bans people from visiting nursing homes except for critical care and temporarily closes schools. It does not have as broad a reach as locally issued stay-at-home orders like the one issued by New Braunfels' Mayor Barron Casteel and a growing list of Texas counties.

A statewide order could be issued if previous orders regarding social gatherings aren't adhered to, according to Abbott.

Many counties issued guidelines similar to Krause's before issuing more substantial orders because the virus continued to spread rapidly.

For the time being, Krause has delegated such decisions to the municipal level. He has prioritized minimizing disruptions to daily life, according to the guidance.


Krause's statement uses words such as "encouraged," "should" and "discouraged," but does not order or declare that residents must do anything unless they have already tested positive for the virus.

The county's guidance was issued the day after a New Braunfels man died due to COVID-19, and the same day the county announced the first case of the virus being spread within the community, as opposed to being contracted while traveling outside of south Central Texas.

“Until this point, all of our positive cases had traveled to places experiencing an active COVID-19 outbreak before developing symptoms,” said Cheryl Fraser, director of public health for the county in a press release. “This patient has tested positive without leaving Comal County, which means COVID-19 is spreading in our community.”

Residents of the county's unincorporated areas and its cities where stay-at-home orders have not been issued have fewer concrete restrictions, which could lead to an increased rate of community spread cases of COVID-19 that Fraser spoke of.

Under the existing guidance, residents are advised to stay home and avoid social gatherings. It is suggested that businesses implement social distancing measures and allow employees to work remotely, and for flexible leave policies to be expanded.

Water recreation businesses are specifically asked to shut down voluntarily and personal care businesses such as nail salons, massage therapists and personal spas are also asked to close.

If the county's officials believe that voluntary measures are not being implemented to a great enough extent, a mandatory countywide order could be issued at a future time.




By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.


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