LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Mayor Andy Mack has announced a now mandatory shelter-in-place order for the city of Longview, and Judge Bill Stoudt confirms the same order for the whole of Gregg County.
Mack said that at the latest press conference it was stated that if any more cases of COVID-19 were found in Longview, the voluntary shelter-in-place order would be changed to a mandatory order. That happened today with the announcement of two more cases, bringing the total to three.
The order begins Thursday night at 11:59 p.m. and will last through Thursday, April 9 at 11:59 p.m.
Details of the order:
1. You may leave your home, but limit your activities. All individuals should shelter at their place of residence, except for essential activities and business. Additionally, to the extent individuals use shared indoor or outdoor space, they should maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. All travel, except essential travel and essential activities, is prohibited. Travel into and out of the city is still allowed to perform essential activities, operate essential businesses, or maintain essential governmental functions.
2. To the extent individuals use shared indoor or outdoor space, they should maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. All travel, except essential travel and essential activities, is prohibited. Travel into and out of the City is still allowed to perform essential activities, operate essential businesses, or maintain essential governmental functions.
3. The Shelter-in-Place orders also direct businesses, except essential businesses, to cease all activities except minimum basic operations. All essential businesses are strongly encouraged to remain open. However, even essential businesses are encouraged to determine essential staff necessary to operate and to send non-essential staff home. To the greatest extent feasible, essential businesses shall comply with social distancing requirements. Essential businesses include a variety of different types of businesses that provide essential goods and services for the community, such as healthcare, grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores, banks, laundromats, transportation, media, construction, and several others detailed within the directive.
“I do not take this decision lightly,” Mack said. “I realize this will be an inconvenience for everybody, but I believe it is for the greater good. The goal is not to cripple our productive economy. We want and need essential businesses to be productive. But we also need to slow the spread of the virus for the sake of our most vulnerable neighbors."
He reminded everyone that essential businesses will continue to operate. Non-essential businesses should not continue to operate except for minimal, basic operations. See full list of essential businesses at this link.
Mack encouraged that if you have questions, call the COVID-19 hotline at 903-237-1215
Penalties including fines and/or jail time will be incurred for those who do not comply. A person who knowingly or intentionally violates the order commits an offense punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days, and each day or portion of a day that such a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
For those who live in Kilgore, the police department said that they are aware of the county order and will post additional guidance on Thursday prior to the order going into effect at midnight. “Please do not call for public information relating to the order. Our dispatch center is getting overwhelmed with calls.”