Why there’s no stay-at-home order for Hays County — yet


Some cities have enacted stricter rules not mandated by the county

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — While thousands of people prepare to follow stay-at-home orders in Travis and Williamson counties, people in Hays County don’t have to abide by the stricter guidelines.

“I felt Hays County was not at the point they were at, and we still had some opportunities within our wheelhouse to try the best we can to reduce exposure,” says Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra.

Becerra believes they can still prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Hays County by implementing the rules already in place. Mainly, six feet of physical distancing between people and banning gatherings of 10 or more.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra says he’s trying to balance everyone’s safety while protecting the local economy. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

But with both Travis and Williamson counties announcing stay at home orders, KXAN asked judge Becerra what it would take for him to do the same in Hays County.

“If I see no improvement, or if I see a lack of commitment and support from the municipalities to enforce this,” Becerra says.

“When you say you’re hoping to stay not just one step, but five steps ahead of this — but you’re not issuing a stay-at-home order, do you think to viewers, to neighbors, to citizens, that sends a conflicting message?” KXAN asked.

“Hopefully not,” the judge says. “I believe with the help of our general counsel, we have crafted a document that will do a very similar effect as a stay-at-home order, if adhered to.”

Cities issue stricter rules

Update: Tuesday night, the City of San Marcos announced it is closing all river parks, effective 11 p.m.

In a press release, the city states:

Parks affected include: Rio Vista, City Park, Plaza Park, Veramendi, Bicentennial, Children’s Park, Crook Park, Veteran’s Memorial Park, Dog Beach, Capes Park, Thompson’s Island, Stokes Park, Ramon Lucio Park, and Wildlife Annex/Wilderness Park. To view a map of all San Marcos river parks visit http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/1364/San-Marcos-River-Parks.

Violations could result in trespassing charges, according to the city.

Texas State University announced Tuesday that it’s Sewell Park will close at sunset until further notice.

Other cities in Hays County have closed public facilities like playscapes, park bathrooms and water fountains to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Buda made a similar announcement Tuesday, while Kyle issued their order on Saturday.

These vary from city to city, however, and are not required by the county.

In San Marcos and Kyle, for example, the closures include dog parks. But in Buda, a spokesperson says their dog park will remain open, with a limit of 10 people at a time.

All cities with playground closures say the parks and trails are still open, as long as social distancing is maintained.

You can find San Marcos’ rules here.

You can find Kyle’s rules here.

You can find Buda’s rules here.

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