Bastrop County releases updated COVID-19 FAQs guidance


Bastrop County COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

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1.1 WHERE CAN I GET INFORMATION OR ASK QUESTIONS?


1.1.1 BASTROP COUNTY CORONAVIRUS: https://www.co.bastrop.tx.us/page/em.coronavirus


1.1.2 THE DASHBOARD - The “dashboard,” with current counts, is also on this page. To see more information, the map, and demographics, please click on the link directly underneath the dashboard.


Please note on the map that the large red dot between Bastrop and Elgin represents the number of positive cases in the unincorporated portions of Bastrop County, NOT the location of those cases. Dots are also shown in the cities of Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville, reflecting confirmed cases inside those cities.


Information is received by the Health Authority from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and sent to be updated on the dashboard. Due to HIPAA laws, the people who post the information do not know any more information.

Any changes to information on the dashboard is at the request of the Health Authority.


(Always refer people to the Bastrop County Coronavirus page, shown above, for the dashboard – changes to the larger dashboard could make the arcgis.com link obsolete.)


1.2 HOW CAN I HELP?


1.2.1 TO STAFF THE PHONES for the Bastrop County Local Governments COVID-19 HOTLINE:

Direct Link: https://www.bcltrt.org/volunteer-form


1.2.2 FOR THOSE WITH MEDICAL SKILLS:

Direct Link: https://bastropcountyconnects.galaxydigital.com/need/detail/?need_id=509270

Or go to www.bastropcares.org.

  • In right column, click on “Click Here To Get Connected!” button

  • Click on “VOLUNTEER NOW” button.

  • Click on “Bastrop County Emergency Medical Professional Volunteer Registration - CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)” and sign up.


1.2.3 FOR THOSE WANTING TO HELP DRIVE FOOD TO SENIORS AROUND THE COUNTY:

Direct Link: https://bastropcountyconnects.galaxydigital.com/need/detail/?need_id=510731

Or go to www.bastropcares.org.

  • In right column, click on “Click Here To Get Connected!” button

  • Click on “VOLUNTEER NOW” button.

  • Click on: “Bastrop County Senior Home Delivery - CORONAVIRUS COVID-19” and sign up.


1.3 WHAT IS COVID-19?

About COVID-19: visit https://www.co.bastrop.tx.us/page/em.coronavirus

To learn more, go online to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html


1.4 WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE SYMPTOMS?

  • Stay home when you are sick or think you are sick.

  • Do not go to the store or out in public. Try to isolate yourself from your family members.

  • Call your health care provider’s office in advance of a visit, or call the Ascension Medical Hotline at 1-833-978-0649. If you have symptoms that place you in the medium to high risk category they will try to return your call within the hour. If you are a low risk caller they will return your call within 24 hours.


1.5 MY DOCTOR TOLD ME HE THINKS I HAVE COVID-19, BUT I HAVEN’T GOTTEN A TEST. WHAT DO I DO NOW?

  • Go to your residence and stay there. You are now under mandated self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days or until a medical doctor releases you.

  • Everyone who lives in your household is also under a mandatory minimum 14-day self-isolation period as well.

  • You and other members in your household are forbidden to go to work, school, daycare, social or religious gatherings, shopping or any other community function, until released by a Medical Doctor.


1.6 WHAT ARE BEST PRACTICES TO AVOID COVID-19?

The best way to protect yourself and your family is to take the following preventive actions to avoid exposure:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Wear a face covering when out in public.


1.7 HOW CAN I REACH THE BASTROP COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT?

For more information and official updates:


1.8 HOW DO I FIND OUT HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE SICK?

See Section 1.1 Bastrop County Coronavirus page and Dashboard


2.0 SLOWING DOWN THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 (FLATTENING THE CURVE)


2.1 WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING?

Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding gathering in groups larger than 10, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others.

Staying home, unless for work or essential errands such as grocery shopping, is also a way to practice social distancing.

Using curbside services for groceries, and limiting the number of times and hours you go out in public are other examples of social distancing.

Do not get into a vehicle with someone who is not from your household, nor allow any non-household member into your vehicle. Inside a vehicle is a small, enclosed space, and there isn’t enough room for social distancing.


2.2 SHOULD I WEAR A FACE COVERING? BUT I CAN’T FIND A MASK ANYWHERE.

Yes, everyone is now required wear a “face covering” when in Bastrop County in the general public, in businesses, and when you can’t maintain social distancing measures, per Bastrop County COVID-19 Order #1A, signed by Judge Paul Pape on April 8, 2020, which follow recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please note that a face covering is not a replacement for at least six feet of social distancing; it is an added safety measure.


2.2.1 WHILE IN MY CAR?

You will not need a face covering if you are inside your car, unless you are talking to someone or doing business with someone who is outside your car, such as in an open-windowed drive-thru.


2.2.3 WHILE ON MY PRIVATE PROPERTY?

No, you do not need to wear a face covering.


2.2.4 WHAT IF I AM JOGGING OR BIKING OR WALKING WITH MY FAMILY IN A RURAL AREA?

If you are in an area where you can easily practice social distancing, you do not have to wear a face cover. Please note that because you have no control over the actions of others, please have a face covering on hand to use if someone else gets near you or your family. This is a health and safety measure.


2.2.5 WHAT TYPE OF FACE COVERING IS REQUIRED?

This is not a surgical mask or an N-95 respirator, which are to be used by medical providers and first responders.

Face coverings can be made with homemade items, please see link for more instructions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/


2.2.6 HOW DO I REPORT SOMEONE NOT WEARING A MASK?

Do NOT call 9-1-1. This is NOT an emergency.

Do your part by wearing a “face covering”, encourage others to do so AND stay at least 6 feet apart from others. This is a health and safety measure, not a punishment.

Call 512-303-4300. A hotline volunteer will take down the information and report it to the appropriate authorities. Remember that organizations around the county and in the cities are working diligently to get compliance information to businesses.


2.2.7 FINES AND PENALTIES

There may be fines and penalties for knowingly violating a Judge’s Order, under due process of law. The point of the Order is to protect the general health and welfare. Your voluntary compliance is needed on all Orders and CDC guidelines to slow the spread of this deadly disease.


2.2.8 AS A STORE OWNER, CAN I REFUSE SERVICE TO SOMEONE WITHOUT A FACE COVERING?

Yes, you can refuse to serve someone who doesn’t comply with Bastrop County COVID-19 Order #1A which requires everyone to wear a “face covering” in public.

An article of clothing, currently worn as a shirt – with the front pulled up over the face – does not constitute a face covering.


2.2.9 I’M A STORE OWNER AND I’VE SEEN SIGNS AT OTHER STORES SAYING “FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED.” WHERE CAN I GET ONE?

Contact the hotline at 512-303-4300 or a local Chamber of Commerce in Bastrop, Elgin or Smithville. The Chambers are helping all businesses – members or not – with signs, and answering questions on best practices, financial information, and more.


2.3 CAN MORE THAN 10 PEOPLE GATHER IF THEY ARE IN THE SAME FAMILY?

No. Even if related, people are prohibited from gathering in groups of more than 10, unless it’s people all from the same household, in other words, people who all live at the same address.


2.4 WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HOUSEHOLD AND A FAMILY?

A household is a group of people who live in the same residence. Family members may live in multiple residences.


2.5 HOW DO I KNOW IF I WAS EXPOSED?

You generally need to be in close contact with a sick person to get infected. Close contact includes:

  • Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19.

  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19.

  • Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for several minutes.

  • Being in direct contact with droplets from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

  1. WHERE DO I CALL TO REPORT AN INFECTIOUS PERSON?

There is currently no authority to report suspicion of infection to. Practice social distancing and avoid contacts with the individual you feel may be sick. If you begin to feel ill, please call your primary physician or the Ascension hotline for screening. If you have a relationship with this person, suggest to them that they contact a medical professional.


2.7 CAN I GET COVID-19 FROM MY PETS?

There is no reason at this time to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene.

If there is a sick person in your household, someone else should take care of the pet, and the sick person should have no contact with the pet.


2.8 CAN I GET COVID-19 FROM MOSQUITOES OR TICKS?

To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks, according to the CDC. The main way that COVID-19 is spread is through person to person contact.


2.9 WHAT ARE THE CDC GUIDELINES TO PREVENT GETTING SICK?

WHEN DO I HAVE TO FOLLOW THEM?


2.9.1 In Bastrop County COVID-19 ORDER #1A, Bastrop County Judge ordered all people to follow the CDC guidelines to Prevent Getting Sick, including social distancing, face coverings, good hygiene and sanitation of frequently touched surfaces. These guidelines are published on the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/


2.9.2 These guidelines must be followed by every person in Bastrop County in three specific scenarios:

1. When entering any government or public building, or conversing with a governmental official, staff, or employee in person; or,

2. When with other members of the public outside of a household (i.e, office, store, business, sidewalk, parking lot, etc.); or,

3. Pursuant to Section 3.3 of this Order, all employees or staff of any business when

open to the public.


3.0 LOCAL IMPACTS


3.1 HOW MANY CONFIRMED CASES IN BASTROP COUNTY?

We report the number of confirmed cases of people who live in Bastrop County daily on the County website Dashboard at:

https://bascogis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/e67211191be94314b855d604a37cddaf

If available, we may also report age and sex of patient, and how they most-likely contracted the virus. This information comes from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to our Bastrop County Health Authority.


3.2 WHAT TOWN OR PART OF THE COUNTY IS THE AFFECTED PERSON FROM?

This information is only available to healthcare professionals, First Responders, and state and national medical reporting agencies. HIPAA Laws apply. It is posted on our Dashboard as it becomes available from the Texas Department of State Health Services.


3.3 WHERE HAS THE COVID-19 POSITIVE PERSON BEEN LATELY? HOW CAN I KNOW IF I’VE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH THEM?

With limited resources, the Texas Department of State Health Services may investigate the recent travel habits of the affected person and notify people who have been in contact with the person sick with COVID-19.


3.4 IS SELF-QUARANTINE REQUIRED FOR THOSE WHO FLEW FROM HIGH RISK AREAS?

Yes. Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-11 on March 26, 2020, with additions on March 29, 2020, requiring those who arrive in an airport in Texas from and through certain states and cities to register with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and immediately self-quarantine at a home or hotel for 14 days or until they leave the state, whichever is less.

Travelers restricted include from the following:

  • State of California

  • State of Louisiana (also road travelers from Louisiana to self-quarantine)

  • State of Washington

  • City of Atlanta, Georgia

  • City of Chicago, Illinois

  • City of Detroit, Michigan

  • City of Miami, Florida

Abbott has charged the DPS with checking up on quarantined people affected by this order. If people are found to be in violation, they could face criminal charges including a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail.

Exceptions include business-related, essential services, and military.


3.5 WHAT DOES “SELF-QUARANTINE” OR “SELF-ISOLATE” MEAN?

  • Do not go to work or school, and avoid all public places for 14 days from the onset of symptoms.

  • If there are other members in your household, you must avoid contact with them, and use good hygiene practices.


3.6 WHAT DOES COVID-19 “TRAVEL RELATED” MEAN?

  • The person most likely contracted COVID-19 through travel such as being in a high risk country, on a cruise ship, or in a high risk area in the United States.

  • All persons who have recently been to a high risk area are now required by Gov. Abbott to self-quarantine for 14 days.


3.7 WHAT IS “COMMUNITY SPREAD”?

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.


3.8 IS IT OKAY TO DONATE BLOOD?

YES, with precautions.

Donated blood is a lifesaving, essential part of caring for patients, and blood centers are open and in urgent need of donations. CDC encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if they are practicing social distancing because of COVID-19.

CDC is supporting blood centers by providing recommendations that will keep donors and staff safe. Examples of these recommendations include spacing donor chairs 6 feet apart, thoroughly adhering to environmental cleaning practices, and encouraging donors to make donation appointments ahead of time.


3.9 CAN I ATTEND A FUNERAL?

Yes, if less than 10 people, including staff, are gathered more than six feet apart. You would also be required to wear a face covering. Please contact the funeral home to find out how they are conducting services and if you can attend.


4.0 TESTING SITE IN BASTROP COUNTY


4.1 IS THERE A TESTING SITE IN BASTROP COUNTY?

Yes, there is a designated drive-thru site for taking specimens in Bastrop County. However, this is not an open-access testing site. You must have a referral from a healthcare provider to be tested there.


4.2 WHY CAN’T I JUST DRIVE UP AND GET SCREENED?


4.2.1 The CDC has recommended that only those with symptoms be tested. There are not enough test kits or personnel for those without symptoms to be tested.

This facility is closed to the general public. In order to be tested at this site, you must be referred by a Medical Healthcare Provider that follows the approved screening process for Bastrop County.


4.2.2 CAN I GET TESTED NEARBY WITHOUT AN ORDER?

Not in Bastrop County. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has a list of drive-thru test sites listed throughout the state, which have various criteria for testing. Some of the screening locations are in nearby Travis County. Visit https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/testing.aspx for more information.


4.3 I FEEL SICK. DO I NEED TO GET TESTED NOW?

If you feel sick or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing), go home or stay home. Do not go out in public unless it’s for pre-arranged medical care or emergency care. (Bastrop County COVID-19 ORDER #1A).

Please call your Medical Healthcare Provider for a telephone screening and possible appointment. A Medical Healthcare Provider will determine, upon evaluation, if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you do not have a Medical Healthcare Provider please call the Ascension COVID-19 Medical Hotline at 833-978-0649.

If you are experiencing life threatening symptoms, please call 911; or call ahead to an emergency room, in order for medical personnel to prepare for your arrival.


4.4 IS MY NEIGHBORHOOD SAFE, IF YOU ARE DOING TESTING HERE?

Lab tests are not being done at the Bastrop County site. Nasal or throat swabs are being collected, labelled, and sent to a lab in another county for testing. The Bastrop County COVID-19 site is for specimen collection only.


4.5 HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RECEIVE MY TEST RESULTS?

Labs are working as quickly as possible. Some results may take up to a week.


5.0 PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER DECLARATION and ORDERS


5.1 WHAT DOES THE PRESIDENT’S MAJOR DISASTER DECLARATION MEAN FOR THE STATE OF TEXAS?

President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Texas and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

The President’s action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of Texas. Federal funding is also available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Texas impacted by COVID-19.

Bastrop County has not yet received specific information on how that affects us, our communities, or our businesses.


5.2 HAS THE STATE OF TEXAS DECLARED A PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER?

Yes. The Texas Department of State Health Services determined that, as of March 19th, 2020, COVID-19 represents a public health disaster within the meaning of Chapter 81 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.


5.3 WHAT ACTION HAS GOVERNOR ABBOTT TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO THE DECLARATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER?

See Governor Abbott’s website: https://gov.texas.gov/


5.4 WHAT ACTION HAS COUNTY JUDGE PAPE TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO THE DECLARATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER IN BASTROP COUNTY?

Direct Link: https://www.co.bastrop.tx.us/upload/page/0282/docs/BastropCountyCOVID-19ORDER3302020.pdf


5.5 DOES THIS MEAN ALL BUSINESSES IN BASTROP COUNTY MUST SHUT DOWN?

None of these official Orders close all businesses. The Governor's order allows businesses considered Essential Services to remain open, so long as precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The County Judge’s Order requires all businesses that remain open to maintain a daily record of the health of all employees as it relates to COVID-19 symptoms.


5.6 WHAT ARE “ESSENTIAL” BUSINESSES?


5.6.1 Essential Services

Essential Services are as defined in the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0. Government and judicial services are Essential Services. This document is available at: www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices


5.6.2 Reopened Businesses

Under Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA 16, “Reopened Businesses” – retail services, which can be provided through pickup, delivery by mail, or to delivery to the customer’s doorstep – may begin operating starting April 24, 2020.


5.7 WHAT HEALTH MEASURES DO BUSINESSES NEED TO TAKE?

All businesses open to the public in Bastrop County are required by Bastrop County COVID-10 Order #1 and #1A to develop and implement protocols to limit the spread of the virus to shoppers:

  • Daily monitoring of the health of each employee

  • General sanitation

  • Social Distancing measures that keep customers 6 feet apart

  • Designate an employee on each shift to active monitor and enforce these protocols

  • Keep records of these actions, which must be available to the Local Health Authority upon request


5.8 WHY ARE THESE RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE IN BASTROP COUNTY?

These restrictions on the movement of people and exposure to the COVID-19 virus is necessary in order to promote social distancing and are meant to strengthen and safeguard our communities by curbing the spread of the virus. These coming weeks are critical in the fight against COVID-19. As Texans, we must act responsibly in order to slow the spread of this virus and protect ourselves and our neighbors.


5.9 DOES ANY OFFICIAL ORDER REQUIRE THAT WE CLOSE ALL CITY AND COUNTY OPERATIONS?

No. The Governor’s Order refers to Essential Services as defined in the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0. Government and judicial services are Essential Services. This document is available at: www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices

In Bastrop County, governmental and court offices generally closed to public access, but continue to help people via email and phone, or in person if necessary.


5.10 ARE RESTAURANTS OPEN?

Under Governor Abbott’s Order, restaurants throughout Texas may prepare food for non-dine-in business only, such as drive-thru, pick-up, call-in orders, and delivery options.

Click on the link for open restaurants in your area: https://www.bastropcares.org/covid-19

You may not dine in, drink, eat, or stay in a restaurant or its courtyard. You may visit a restaurant to pick up your order.


5.11 ARE BARS OPEN?

Per Governor’s Order, bars are closed, except and unless they serve food with beverages. They are subject to the no-dine-in conditions – carry out or delivery only.


5.12 WILL GROCERY STORES SHUT DOWN?

Food and food services are Essential Services. We are told that our local grocery stores are here to serve our communities and will not be closing. Their warehouses are full, and deliveries are arriving regularly.

Please remember to practice social distancing and wear a mask while shopping

When possible, send only one person from your family to purchase your weekly groceries.

It is imperative we remember to be kind, only take what you need, and leave some for your neighbors.


5.13 DO I NEED TO BUY BOTTLED WATER?

Water provided by the Cities of Bastrop, Elgin, and Smithville, and Aqua Water Supply meet or exceed stringent requirements from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and is safe to drink. The water from your tap is safe to drink.


5.14 WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT I CAN ONLY BUY TWO TOILET PAPER ROLLS?

MY PACK COMES WITH 12 ROLLS.

One section of the Bastrop County COVID-19 Order #1 and #1A is meant to stop excessive buying of basic needs. A portion of Order #1 reads as follows:

3.5 Due to increased demand for certain products, a mandatory limit is placed on the sale or purchase of the following items, per store visit: The greater of the number listed below or the number of items in a single package: (a) toilet tissue, two (2) rolls; hand sanitizer, two (2) items; face tissue, two (2) boxes; sanitizing wipes, two (2) items. This regulation does not apply to a single purchase representing more than one household, with proof there of (such as a photo ID), or for licensed group caregivers.

If your pack comes with 12 rolls (more than 2), then you can only buy one 12-pack of toilet paper at a time. If your toilet paper comes in single rolls, then you can buy two single rolls.


5.15 ARE DAYCARES OPEN?

Yes. Daycare facilities are listed as Essential Services by CISA and may remain open. Some daycare centers have policies in place that follow their local school district guidelines regarding closures, which means they are temporarily closed.


5.15.1 DAYCARE FACILITY GUIDELINES

  • There may be no more than 10 people (children and staff) together in one room.

  • Daycare facilities/staff must follow CDC guidelines for hand hygiene, disinfection and proper use of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is also recommending that all providers keep up with CDC guidelines.


5.15.2 FACE COVERINGS AT DAYCARES

After further review of the CDC’s guidance specifically addressing childcare and child daycare, Bastrop County Judge sees no recommendation for face coverings on children in these programs. Therefore, Bastrop County COVID19 Order #1A does NOT require face coverings for children in daycare or childcare. Teachers, administrators, directors, parents and guardians of children in such programs should review the CDC details on daycares and preschools in the link below, and follow the recommendations.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html


5.16 ARE CHURCHES OPEN FOR SERVICES?

Yes. Under Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA 14, churches are considered Essential Services and can meet. Each household must sit at least six feet apart on all sides from other households, and people must wear a face covering.

Some churches are looking at alternate ways to hold services, such as on Facebook. Check with your church to see in what creative ways they are holding services and keeping people safe.


5.17 WHAT DO I DO IF MY CAR REGISTRATION IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE?

Effective 03/19/2020, and continued until further notice, the Bastrop County Tax Office has closed its lobby to all customers. The Bastrop County Tax Office employees are still working on your behalf and are available by the following means:

On March 16, 2020, Governor Abbott also waived certain rules relating to vehicle registration, titling, and parking placards for persons with disabilities. These suspensions allow Texans to avoid penalties for failure to timely title or register a vehicle, or renew a parking placard.


5.18 CAN I GET MY HAIR OR NAILS DONE?

No. Governor Abbott’s Order GA-14 prohibits people from visiting certain types of businesses, including gyms, massage parlors, cosmetology salons, tattoo studios and piercing studios. Do not try to get one of these prohibited businesses to come to your home, since services cannot be provided while practicing appropriate COVID-19 mitigation.


5.19 SHOULD I BE WORKING FROM HOME?

Yes, if feasible, working from home is encouraged. Please talk to your owner or manager.


5.20 CAN I FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT IF I QUIT BECAUSE I’M AFRAID OF GETTING THE VIRUS?

No. Unemployment benefits are only for those who have been laid off or fired from their jobs.


5.21 I FEEL BUT MY DOCTOR DOESN’T THINK I NEED TO BE TESTED. MY BOSS WANTS A NOTE OR I’LL BE FIRED. WHAT DO I DO?

You can call the Ascension COVID-19 hotline to be evaluated.

Your employer may not require a doctor’s note for your sick absence. However, because you are symptomatic, the Judge’s Order mandates that you self-quarantine yourself for 14-days or until you are released by a medical doctor.

Your entire household must also self-quarantine for 14 days. You and other members in your household are forbidden to go to work, school, daycare, social or religious gatherings, shopping or any other community function, until released by a Medical Doctor.


5.22 CAN I GET NEW TIRES ON MY CAR OR GET OTHER MAINTENANCE DONE?

If a business is open, you may buy their products/services but many are taking appointments rather than walk-ins to maintain social distancing guidelines. Please call ahead to see if they are taking customers and when you should go.


6.0 OPPORTUNITIES FOR ASSISTANCE -

UTILITIES / RENT / BILLS / FOOD AND MORE.


6.1 IS THERE HELP FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES?

For specific business questions or to find out ways businesses are being helped, please call the local Chambers of Commerce:


6.2 ARE THERE ANY PLACES THAT CAN ASSIST WITH RENT AND UTILITIES?

Bastrop County Cares is updating their resource list daily at www.bastropcares.org

NOTICE: The Texas Public Utility Commission voted Thursday, March 26, 2020 to ban utilities from cutting off power and water services to Texans who have lost jobs and income during the COVID-19 crisis for at least the next six months. Contact your utility company for instructions on a payment plan.


6.3 CAN I BE EVICTED IF I CAN’T PAY MY MORTGAGE OR RENT?

You can not be evicted during this time. The Texas Supreme Court issued an Emergency Order suspending residential eviction proceedings through April 19th, 2020, unless there is a threat of physical harm or criminal activity. You still owe your rent or mortgage. Work with your landlord or mortgage company on a delayed payment plan.


6.4 WHAT ABOUT THE FEDERAL STIMULUS CHECKS? WHEN WILL I GET MY $1,200 CHECK?

Information about the Economic Impact Payments is at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know


6.5 WHERE CAN I GET HELP FOR FOOD?


6.5.1 For a list of food services, including mobile services, provided by charitable organizations in Bastrop County, to go: https://www.bastropcares.org/charitable-food


6.5.2 Senior Food Assistance program

  • Age 65 and older

  • Call 512-303-4300 to sign up

  • You will need to provide your name, address and phone number


6.5.3 HEB-FAVOR program in Bastrop and Elgin areas

  • Age 60 and older

  • Can place orders for same-day delivery.

  • Within 8 miles of HEB store

  • Seniors can order in the Favor App, online or via phone.

  • For full details, visit https://favordelivery.com/


6.5.4 HEB Curbside for Seniors – Volunteer Pickup and Delivery

  • Age 65 and older

  • Seniors will forward the confirmation email generated by HEB to curbsidebastrop@gmail.com (including their delivery address, contact phone # and name on the order).

  • Volunteers will pick up your HEB Curbside order and deliver to your front porch

  • County-wide service

  • Call 512-303-4300 to sign up.


6.6 I AM SO STRESSED OUT ABOUT EVERYTHING. WHAT DO I DO?

There are several numbers you can call, and one you can text, to discuss whatever is bothering you. The website for Bastrop County Cares, which has quite a few local resources, is also listed.

  • Bluebonnet Trails Community Services 24-hour Crisis Hotline

  • 1-800-841-1255

  • Family Crisis Center

  • For those experiencing the following:

  • stress, emotional challenges or anxiety due to the current crisis

  • stalking, sexual violence, or dating/domestic violence

  • 833-986-1919

  • U.S. Crisis Textline

  • For those experiencing STRESS or ANXIETY

  • Text TX to 741741

  • U.S. Disaster 24-hour Distress Helpline

  • Emotional distress due to disasters

  • 1-800-985-5990

  • Visit Bastrop County Cares website

  • www.bastropcares.org


7.0 SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAMS


7.1 WHEN WILL SCHOOLS REOPEN?

Governor Abbott announced April 17, 2020 in Executive Order GA 16, all Texas public schools, including those in Bastrop County (Bastrop ISD, Elgin ISD, McDade ISD and Smithville ISD) are closed to in-person classroom attendance by students for the 2019-20 school year. This includes all public and private schools, and institutions of higher learning. Online classes may continue. Please check with your school regarding updates and graduation instructions.

  1. Bastrop ISD https://www.bisdtx.org/Domain/3868

  2. Elgin ISD https://www.elginisd.net/

  3. McDade ISD https://www.mcdadeisd.com/

  4. Smithville ISD https://www.smithvilleisd.org/


7.2 SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAMS FOR ALL THOSE AGE 18 AND YOUNGER

School districts are providing curbside-pickup breakfast and lunch in their area each weekday for their children (age 18 and younger), regardless if the child attends the school. Children must be present to pick up their meal.



RURAL LOCATIONS

  • Pickup Time Noon to 1 p.m. (or until we run out)

  • Site 1: String Prairie Community Center, 204 Community Center Road, Rosanky, Texas

  • Site 2: Entrance of Indian Lake, Corner of Indian Drive & FM 153

  • Site 3: Lake Thunderbird Community Center, FM 2104

  •  Site 4: Young School House Bible Church Parking Lot, Young School House Road & 115 Easley Road

  •  Site 5: Cottletown Road, Corner of Cottletown Road & Corna Long Trail Road


IN TOWN SITES:


8.0 TRAVEL AND LEISURE

Please be sure your children and families practice social distancing and other healthy habits.

Remember, it’s best to stay home to limit exposure to others.


8.1 ARE PARKS OPEN IN BASTROP COUNTY?

  • All parks in Bastrop County are closed per Bastrop County COVID-19 Order #1A, starting April 9, 2020.

  • All parks in the cities of Bastrop and Smithville are closed.

  • All parks in Elgin are open starting April 17, 2020, except for sports courts and the recreation center which are still closed. The parks department asks that people stay off playground equipment, wear face coverings, maintain proper social distancing, and not gather in groups.

  • All state parks will reopen for day use only starting Monday, April 20, per Governor Abbott. You must reserve your entrance fee online BEFORE going to the park. Visitors must wear face coverings, maintain a distance of 6 feet from non-family members, and not gather in groups of more than five. (Bastrop State Park, Buescher State Park).

  • All LCRA Parks are closed. (McKinney Roughs Nature Park, Lake Bastrop North and South Shores)


8.2 CAN I STILL WALK MY DOG OR DO OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES?

Yes. The state and the county’s orders allow visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID- 19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. Please note that Bark Parks follow the park closures of their city.


8.3 IS THERE A CURFEW IN BASTROP COUNTY?

No.


8.4 IS IT OKAY TO TRAVEL?

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is discouraging non-essential travel. Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA 14 specifies that all non-essential business must close and that everyone must stay at home unless accessing an Essential Service. The effect is that all non-essential travel is prohibited anywhere in Texas.

  • Governor Greg Abbott has issued Executive Order No. GA-11 on March 26, 2020, and revised on March 29, 2020, to require those who arrive in an airport in Texas OR by road travel from certain high risk areas to register with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and immediately self-quarantine at a home or hotel for 14 days or until they leave the state, whichever is less. See FAQ “Is Self-quarantine required for those who flew from high risk areas?”

  • If you choose to travel between cities and counties in Texas, states or countries, please check on the restrictions placed on those locations along your route and at your destination, including any stay-at-home orders, quarantine requirements and the like. If you have traveled through or to a high risk area, you may be required to quarantine when you get back to Texas.


  1. WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE AT A GAS PUMP?

  • Wear gloves (kitchen, gardening, ranching, etc.) or use a plastic bag while pumping gas. Please leave the disposable gloves for our First Responders and Nurses. They must have them to keep us safe.

  • Wipe down gas pump handle and payment keypad with a disinfectant wipe.

  • Sanitize your hands and vehicle door handle.

  • Pay by debit or credit card rather than cash.


9.0 COURTS IN BASTROP COUNTY


9.1 ARE COURTS IN BASTROP COUNTY GOING TO BE IN SESSION?

These procedures are effective immediately and will continue until Midnight May 8th, 2020.

All Jury Trials are cancelled.

All previously scheduled hearings and dockets are cancelled.

Courts will not conduct non-essential proceedings in person.

For essential proceedings, please contact the Court to arrange a time and place for a hearing. The Court reserves the right to conduct any hearing in the manner that best protects the public health, the right to public proceedings, and the best interest of justice, consistent with recent emergency and disaster declarations by State of Texas and Bastrop County.

For hearings that do not require parties to be present, please contact the Court to arrange the time for the hearing.

https://www.co.bastrop.tx.us/upload/page/0087/docs/CountyCourtatLaw3.20.2020.pdf


9.2 WHAT ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY?

FAMILY LAW POSSESSION ORDERS:

All possession orders shall continue to be subject to the applicable, previously published school calendar.

(21st and 335th Judicial District Court, State of Texas, Bastrop, Burleson, Lee and Washington Counties, March 20, 2020)


STANDING ORDER REGARDING PARENT-CHILD VISITATION IN ALL CHILD PROTECTION CASES IN BASTROP COUNTY:

All previously ordered parent-child visitation scheduled to take place between March 23rd and April 1st, 2020 is HEREBY ORDERED SUSPENDED in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and to protect all parties.

The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is HEREBY ORDERED to make arrangements for telephonic, Skype, or Facetime communications in place of in-person visitation between March 23rd, 2020 and April 1st, 2020. - Judge Benton Eskew, March 23rd, 2020


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