Waller County creates task force to help ensure social distancing practices

Waller County created a task force to educate and enforce social distancing practices in the community, according to a March 31 press release from the sheriff's office.

The task force is made up of members of the Waller County Sheriff's Office, district attorney's office and of the office of emergency management, per the release.

Members of the task force will respond to calls reporting individuals and businesses not complying with executive orders in place.

Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith said the primary focus of the task force is to educate locals on what needs to be done to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially when a lack of compliance such as not standing 6 feet apart in a business or having social gatherings of 10 or more people is scaring citizens.

"Please attempt to be courteous and remind others about social distancing and our judge's orders if your personal safety will allow it," Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said. "The task force should not be notified when a simple courtesy and communication can solve a problem between citizens."

Below is a list of restrictions in place set by Waller County Judge Trey Duhon's March 25th order, which were unanimously accepted by Waller County commissioners:

  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

  • Residents and businesses should keep individuals at least 6 feet apart, and businesses should also monitor the health and well-being of their employees on a daily basis to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • Religious institutions should provide worship services by livestreaming and social media.

  • Dinning in at restaurants is not allowed; only takeout, delivery or drive-thru services are allowed.

  • No nonessential visitors are allowed in nursing homes, retirement and long-term care facilities unless it is to give critical assistance or for an end-of-life event.

  • School are to temporarily close.

  • Playground equipment should not be used.

The task force does not aim to penalize locals, but to encourage compliance and to maintain social distancing practices until the coronavirus is no longer a threat, but individuals can face a fine of up to $1,000 and jail for up to 180 days if they refuse to comply after several requests, per the release.

"This is only to ensure everyone is doing everything they can to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in Waller County," Duhon said in a Facebook post. "We appreciate everyone's understanding during this time we understand that everyone is going through a learning curve with this new reality."

Call the sheriff's office at 979-826-8282 or email wallersheriff@wallercounty.us for complaints or issues with social distancing within Waller County. Complaints received that are related to Duhan's orders will be sent to the task force to investigate and solve the issue, according to the press release.

Here are the latest statistics for Texas, according to Duhon's April 1 Facebook post:

  • 47,857 total tests administered

  • 4,259 public labs

  • 43,598 private labs

  • 3,997 cases reported

  • 58 fatalities

Waller County has a total of six confirmed positive coronavirus cases as of 6:21 p.m. on April 1, Duhon said in a Facebook post. Two of these cases are in the Katy area, per Waller County's website.

Duhon said additional cases are pending confirmation from the Texas Department of State Health Services and extended his emergency order through April 30, which follows Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order issued March 31.

Here is a link for the Waller County judge's order in Spanish.


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