Bell County declares local disaster, public health emergency

Bell County officials Tuesday declared a local disaster and public health emergency in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. (File)

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) Bell County officials Tuesday declared a local disaster and public health emergency in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, five cases of which have now been confirmed in the county.

The order limits the size of gatherings to no more than 50 people and mandates the cancellation of all such gatherings until further notice.

Restaurants are limited to drive-through and takeout service.

The order closes bars and indoor recreation facilities such as gyms, bowling alleys and pool halls.

The order’s provisions don’t apply to retail stores, malls, office spaces, grocery stores or schools.

Violating the order is a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of as much as $1,000.

The order is effective for seven days, but commissioners can and likely will extend it.

McLennan County officials issued a similar order earlier Tuesday.

Bell County COVID19 Action Plan

Stage 1 (no confirmed cases of COVID19) • Stay home if you are sick • Avoid contact with persons who are sick • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue away • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a disinfectant • Don’t travel to areas with active community spread of COVID19 • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and use hand sanitizers with at least 60% of alcohol content when soap and water are not available

Stage 2 (a confirmed case of COVID19) • All of Stage 1 measures • Actively practice ‘social distancing’ … whenever possible maintain 6 feet distance from other persons • Avoid physical contact with other persons in social and workplace settings • Recommend all gatherings of 50 or more persons be canceled or postponed

Stage 3 (community spread of COVID19) • All Stage 1 & Stage 2 measures • Bell County &/or BCPHD may issue orders restricting and/or prohibiting mass gatherings and/or movement of people