The city of Katy declared a public health emergency in response to the coronavirus global pandemic at its March 23 meeting, which was livestreamed.
Council prohibited community gatherings and approved an agenda item granting the Katy Police Department permission to issue a fine of up to $2,000 to anyone who does not follow Gov. Greg Abbott's March 19 order, which included guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Some examples of individuals not following CDC directions include people standing basket-to-basket at the grocery store, hosting barbecues at home with a few friends and walking closely together on a park trail, he said.
The ordinance went into effect immediately and will remain in effect until further notice, according to a city of Katy press release. It is possible for the ordinance to be extended based on updates of COVID-19 and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Council members also voted to postpone the May 2 elections in the city of Katy to the Nov. 3 uniform election date.
Mayor Bill Hastings said these are unprecedented times and encouraged the city to be more united than ever before as officials make difficult decisions for the benefit of the community.
"Some of the decisions—I am not going to guarantee, but I think are coming—are probably not going to be easy decisions, and they are certainly not going to be liked by everyone. But please, keep in mind that we are here to serve you," Hastings said at the meeting. "The things I see coming are because we are not following directions."
"We can stop the virus," Hastings continued, "and we can do it by following the instructions that people who are much smarter than us are giving us. There are basic things we can do, and we are not doing them. ... I will be here every day until this is over. ... No matter where we go, I know the city is going to be unified after."