A shelter-in-place order was issued by Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra on March 25 in efforts to reduce physical contact between residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Community Impact Newspaper reporters are answering readers' questions about what this means for them and their families. If you have additional questions, please reach out to us via social media or at [email protected].

What is a shelter-in-place order?

The shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order put in place by Hays County is intended to reduce physical contact between residents. The order prohibits public gatherings but still allows for residents to perform essential activities within the 11 p.m. curfew. Also in this order, companies are required to have their employees stay home unless they meet specific criteria as an essential business.

How long will the order last?

The order will go into effect March 26 at 11 p.m. and will remain in place until April 10 at 4 a.m., unless officials decide otherwise.

For which activities can I leave my home?

The order states residents can leave their home for essential activities, including getting supplies or services from essential businesses, like food, medical supplies or visiting a health care professional. Under the order, outdoor activities, like walking or hiking, are also allowed, but residents must keep 6 feet of distance. Other essential activities include going to work if the business is considered essential and caring for a family member or pet in a different household.

Which retail businesses are still open?

The businesses that will remain open under this order include grocery and liquor stores; restaurants, for take-out and delivery only; gas stations; healthcare services and pharmacies; hardware and supply stores; banks; laundry services; moving services; and funeral services.

Will day cares be open under this order?

Previously, Hays County issued an order that closed day care centers. Now, day care centers will be open but will be limited to 10 children or less.

Will my trash still get picked up?

Under the order, trash and recycling services will continue, as they areconsidered part of critical infrastructure.

Will my mail still get delivered?

Mail and shipping services will continue to provide services as it is considered an essential business under the order.

How does this affect transportation?

Under the order, public transportation will remain, though Capital Area Rural Transportation System announced on its website it will be reducing services. Private transportation providers, like Uber and Lyft, along with airlines and taxis, will continue to provide services. However, these transit services will only be to conduct essential activities or essential business.

What other local services will remain open during the order?

Other business and government services that are classified as essential will also remain open, with essential employees continuing to go to work. Those services include child care services for employees still required to go to work; in-home care and caregiving services; trade services, such as plumbing and electricians; hotel and lodging facilities that practice social distancing standards; and news media.

How will local schools be impacted by the order?

As of March 26, both Hays CISD and San Marcos CISD have extended their spring break and have started planning for remote classroom instruction. HCISD has also announced it is suspending normal school operations indefinitely. SMCISD has not made any announcements on whether it plans to extend the suspension of school operations.