Council approved the local disaster for public health emergency March 19 and extended it March 24. Now, the declaration will continue until May 31.
"I was hesitant to say that we could extend it this long, but I understand the importance," Mayor Aaron Groff said. "We can always back off at any time."
The mayor has the sole prerogative to cancel the disaster declaration; it does not take full council action to do it, City Manager Jack Harper said.
"We don't know what the governor is going to do. ... This way, it does not force City Council to have any more meetings or keep changing the goal line, which is really my concern—to keep pushing it back," Harper said. "I know that's hard on everyone."
In Fulshear, most city staff is teleworking to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic.
Half of development services staff is working every other week, and the police department is continuing their regular schedule while taking precautions with face masks and gloves, Harper said at the April 21 meeting.
Administrative staff is working to forward all city phone calls and emails to their correspondents due to the temporary closure of City Hall, Harper said.
"We are certainly very appreciative of the hard work they are doing now, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that," Harper said.
There are an estimated 220 businesses in Fulshear; Harper said about one third have been directly impacted by the stay-at-home order in Fort Bend County, Harper said, as some have closed, and others are limited in their daily operations.
Economic Development Coordinator Chandler Marks and Economic Development Director Angela Fritz said they have been proactively reaching out to local businesses to see how they are coping with the pandemic.
Additonially, the Fulshear Economic Development Council as a whole is working towards developing parameters for a potential emergency assistance grant and established a Fulshear First initiative to encourage residents to shop locally and support small businesses in the area.
Utility billing continues to conduct transactions electronically, either online or via phone calls.
Based on current disaster declarations, there will not be any water cutoffs or late notice fees.
The Fulshear Public Works Department is monitoring water and wastewater treatment plants.
"While the doors may be closed, I want to assure City Council that everyone is still working diligently, and I'm very pleased at the hard work that's gone in," Harper said. "Everyone has been really busy, and I can 100% say that everyone I have talked to really misses being at the office. We miss each other as a family, and that's really important. While we are glad to be home with our home family, we also miss our work family."