Mayor Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano on Thursday signed a declaration of local disaster in an effort to stave off the possible spread of COVID-19 in Del Rio.
The declaration “prohibits community gatherings of 10 persons or more anywhere in the city of Del Rio beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday (March 19).”
Lozano read the order on a livestream on the city’s Facebook page. The city’s declaration was issued just before Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order outlining actions also designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Lozano’s initial declaration prohibited community gatherings of 50 people or more, but that declaration was revised later to prohibit gatherings of 10 persons or more.
“Community gathering” in Lozano’s declaration is defined as “any indoor or outdoor event or convening subject … that brings together or is likely to bring together 10 or more persons at the same time in a single room or other single confined or enclosed space, such as an auditorium, theatre, stadium (indoor or outdoor), arena or event center, meeting hall, conference center, large cafeteria, restaurant, nightclub/bar, entertainment center, amusement redemption center or any other confined indoor or confined outdoor space.”
The declaration notes this includes “weddings, religious gatherings, parties, funerals, sporting events, social events, conferences and other large gatherings.”
Outdoor community gatherings covered by the order are “limited to events in confined outdoor spaces, which means an outdoor space that is enclosed by a fence, physical barrier or other structure and where people are present and they are within an arm’s length of one another for extended periods.”
“This order also does not prohibit gatherings of people in multiple, separate enclosed spaces (including separate cubicles) in a single building such as a multiplex movie theater, school classrooms or different floors of a multilevel building, so long as 10 people are not present in any single space at the same time,” the declaration reads.
People gathering anywhere should follow guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services for social distancing and personal hygiene, the declaration reads.
Lozano’s declaration does not include buses, trains, airplanes or airports, bus stops and railway terminals.
“In addition, ‘community gathering’ does not include the following spaces where 10 or more persons may congregate, so long as visitors are generally not within arm’s length of one another for extended periods: office space or residential building, grocery stores, shopping malls or other retail establishments. . . (and) hospitals and medical offices and facilities.”
Lozano’s declaration gives Del Rio Police Department officers and city code enforcement inspectors the authority to enforce the order. A person found violating the order could, if convicted, face a fine of up to $1,000.