McLennan County officials approve stricter limits on gatherings, restaurants

The current outbreak is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread...
The current outbreak is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. It was first identified in Wuhan, China, by health officials.(Source: CDC)
Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 11:50 AM CDT
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McLennan County commissioners Thursday approved an amended order that includes stricter limits on the size of gatherings and restaurant operations.

The updated order bans gatherings of 10 or more people and limits restaurants in the county to drive-through, delivery or pick-up services

It also closes bars, gyms and other indoor recreational facilities such as pool halls, bowling alleys and bingo parlors.

Violators could be charged with a class C misdemeanor and fined as much as $1,000.

The restriction does not apply to retail stores, malls or supermarkets.

The stricter rules, which are effective for seven days, but can be extended, are in line with orders issued by cities in the county, including Waco.

The county declared a local disaster and public health emergency Wednesday, but the county’s order was initially less restrictive that one issued Monday by the City of Waco.

The order, which prohibits community gatherings of 50 or more people, did not supersede stricter municipal measures.

Six cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the county, five of them travel-related.

One involves an employee of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Waco’s Richland Mall, who, health officials said, did not have contact with the public.

The restaurant was closed for extensive cleaning and disinfecting.

The City of Waco's order, which took effect at midnight Tuesday, bans any gathering, indoor or outdoor, that brings or could bring 50 or more people together in a single room or enclosed space.

It closed bars and taverns and limited restaurant operations to drive-through and take-out service.

It also closed down indoor recreational facilities and indoor amusement facilities, which include such businesses as gyms, theaters, pool halls, bingo halls and video arcades.