A fifth declaration of disaster for Lubbock and the postponement of the May 2 general election to Nov. 3, 2020 were approved during a Lubbock City Council meeting Tuesday.
The new declaration clarifies which establishments are considered essential enough to stay open in accordance to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order issued March 19.
The executive order, which will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 3 unless extended, includes:
- Limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people, which supersedes the previous 50 person limit set by the Lubbock City Council.
- All restaurants, gyms, bars, food courts and massage parlors will not be open. However, locations that feature drive-thru, pick-up and delivery options will still be able and are encouraged to utilize those.
- Visits at nursing or retirement homes, unless it is absolutely necessary in order to provide critical assistance, are prohibited.
- All schools will remain closed for the two-week period
In addition to following these orders, the fifth declaration of disaster for Lubbock deems certain services to be essential.
Essential services can remain open so long as federal and Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are followed and social distancing of 6 feet is maintained, according to the declaration. These essential services include:
- Grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores, pharmacies and package stores
- Pet supply stores, veterinary clinics, and boarding kennels. Groomers are prohibited.
- Healthcare providers and facilities
- Vehicle fueling, maintenance and repair facilities
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Professional services, which can include, attorneys, accountants, insurance agents and other licensed professionals
- Office buildings where people work in groups of 10 or less in enclosed spaces
- Day care facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Non-profit providers of essential services
- Essential government services and facilities
- Residential buildings, such as hotels and motels. This does not include group meeting or event spaces.
- Transit facilities
- Manufacturing, distribution and logistics facilities
- Laundromats and dry cleaners
- Call centers
- Critical infrastructure businesses
Residential, commercial and industrial construction sites and building supply and home improvement retailers may remain open so long as federal and CDC guidelines are followed and social distancing of 6 feet is maintained, according to the declaration. Retail establishments not deemed essential still may use drive-thru pick-up, delivery and curb-side delivery so long as similar guidelines and social distancing rules are followed.
The declaration also prohibits non-essential personal services businesses, which are businesses, such as hair salons and tattoo parlors, that require person-to-person contact but are not time-sensitive and are not required for an individual's health or safety, according to the declaration. Non-essential retail establishments, which do not sell essential products or services, commercial amusement and entertainment venues, enclosed shopping malls and group meeting and event spaces are prohibited.
In addition to this disaster declaration, the city council voted to move the city general election on May 2 to Nov. 3, 2020.
Lubbock City Manager Jarrett Atkinson said Abbott strongly recommended cities to postpone their upcoming elections.
"November was selected by the governor because there are only two uniform election days available to the city council to vote on, whether that be in May or that be in November," he said. "There's not an intermediate date."
Even though there are discussions to select an intermediate date, Atkinson there only are two dates to choose from.