Williamson County Stay Home Stay Safe Order FAQ

The Stay Home Stay Safe Order is effective as of 11:59 p.m., March 24, 2020, and it limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. This Stay Home Stay Safe Order is in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 13, 2020, unless extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended by the Williamson County Judge.

Please note that this FAQ is intended to assist the public with understanding their obligations and duties under the Stay Home Stay Safe Order. However, if anything in the FAQ is inconsistent with the terms of the Stay Home Stay Safe Order itself, the provisions of the Stay Home Stay Safe Order shall control.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the difference between “sheltering in place” or “staying home” and “social distancing”?

Sheltering in place requires people to stay at home and only leave the home for “Essential Activities,” as defined in the Stay Home Stay Safe Order.  Social Distancing refers to staying 6 feet or more away from others and to avoid gathering in groups of any size, as well as washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.

 

When does the Stay Home Stay Safe Order go into effect?

The Stay Home Stay Safe Order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24, 2020. Although this is soon, please do not panic. The Stay Home Stay Safe Order allows for people to conduct Essential Activities outside of their Residences as listed in the Stay Home Stay Safe Order.

 

How long does the Stay Home Stay Safe Order last?

The Stay Home Stay Safe Order will continue to be in effect until 11:59PM on April 13, 2020, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Williamson County Judge.

 

Is this mandatory or is it just guidance?

This Stay Home Stay Safe Order is a legal Order that must be followed by all persons located in Williamson County, Texas. Failure to comply with this  Stay Home Stay Safe Order shall be a criminal offense punishable by fine that does not exceed $1,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days.  See Section 17 of the Stay Home Stay Safe Order.

 

Am I allowed to leave my home while this Stay Home Stay Safe Order is in effect?

The intent of this Stay Home Stay Safe Order is to ensure that people remain in their Residences and minimize social interactions outside of their immediate family unit. However, you may leave your Residence for reasons specified in the Stay Home Stay Safe Order. These “Essential Activities” include ensuring the health and safety of yourself and your family, engaging in outdoor activity that does not involve close contact with other people, obtaining services and supplies for yourself and your family, and performing employment functions that are permissible under the Stay Home Stay Safe Order.

 

What is “Essential Activity”?

“Essential Activity” means engaging in activities or performing tasks that are deemed essential to your wellbeing and that of the community.  Essential Activities include, but are not limited to activities such as:

  • Activities or tasks essential to the health and safety of you and your family or household members, including your pets
  • Obtaining food, household goods, and supplies to work from home
  • Engaging in limited outdoor activity such as walking, running, or hiking, as long as Social Distancing Requirements are followed
  • Working for or going to an “Essential Business”
  • Conducting “Minimum Basic Operations” for a non-essential business
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household
  • Exchanging children between parents, guardians, or managing conservators pursuant to a child custody order or agreement between the parties.

 

Can I go to the grocery store?

Yes. However, families should not use grocery stores as a group outing.  Only family members should shop whenever possible. People should quickly and efficiently shop and not use the grocery store as a “hang-out” location.  Get what you need and leave.

 

Can I go to the County owned or funded parks?

Yes. At this time, Williamson County owned or funded parks are open to the public during regular hours for exercise and outdoor activity as long as the Social Distancing Requirements are followed. Please follow the Williamson County website and social media for any updates on access to County owned or funded parks. For information regarding public access to non-County parks owned or operated by other jurisdictions, please contact those jurisdictions directly.

 

Can I leave home to visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need?

No, this is not an “Essential Activity.”. For your safety as well as other’s safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

 

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves, or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Please follow all health and safety guidelines such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least sixfeet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue. Please note that this activity should be limited to essential care only.

 

What if I can’t get out of the home? How can I get supplies and food?

Please contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support, as well as social service groups, food banks and area churches. They are permitted to pick up and deliver any of your necessities. You can also order food and other supplies and have them delivered to your Residence.

Other available resources include:

Meals on Wheels for Williamson and Burnet Counties (meal delivery for seniors) Contact Meals on Wheels

 

Will all business offices and stores be required to close? What are “Essential Businesses”?

“Essential Businesses” may stay open and their employees may leave home to go to work. The Stay Home Stay Safe Order includes the following list of Essential Businesses:

    1. Healthcare Operations, Essential Critical Infrastructure, and Essential Government Functions;
    2. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non­grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of Residences;
    3. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing, and garden centers;
    4. Residential, transportation and commercial construction;
    5. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
    6. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
    7. Gas stations and fuel suppliers;
    8. Auto-supply, auto-repair, auto parts, auto-maintenance, vehicle manufacturing, vehicle sales and related facilities;
    9. Banks and related financial institutions;
    10. Hardware stores;
    11. Trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal;
    12. Cleaning, maintenance and security for facilities;
    13. Warehouse distribution and fulfillment;
    14. Storage for Essential Businesses;
    15. Funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, burial, and related services, provided that Social Distancing Requirements are maintained to the greatest extent possible;
    16. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of Residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses, in addition to emergency repairs for facilities of non-essential businesses;
    17. Certain real estate functions limited to real estate property management, including scheduling necessary repairs that effect the safety and wellbeing of residents, executing and managing leases (commercial and residential), renewal and adjustments of leases (commercial and residential); real estate recordings and transfers, including the execution and documentation of real estate transfers; and real property related services such as permitting, inspections, construction, procurement, representation and title searches;
    18. Businesses and providers providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
    19. Educational institutions-including public and private pre-K establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities-for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;
    20. Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers;
    21. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Stay Home Stay Safe Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only;
    22. Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
    23. Businesses that provide Information Technology (IT) services that are necessary to maintain internet and telecommunications systems, including the provision of essential global, national and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications and web-based services;
    24. Businesses that provide residential and/or commercial moving services and necessary moving supplies;
    25. Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate;
    26. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to Residences;
    27. Any business or manufacturer who retools so that a substantial part of their business is for the purpose of manufacturing and producing products intended to be directly utilized for the COVID-19 response;
    28. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Stay Home Stay Safe Order;
    29. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
    30. Childcare, daycare and child watch facilities and providers providing services that enable employees exempted in this Stay Home Stay Safe Order to work as To the extent possible, childcare, daycare and child watch facilities and providers must operate under the following mandatory conditions:
    31. Childcare, daycare and child watch be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
    32. Children should not change from one group to
    33. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group should be in a separate Groups should not mix with each other.
    34. Childcare providers should remain solely with one group of

 

What is “Essential Travel”?

    • Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Healthcare Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Critical Infrastructure, Essential Businesses, or Minimum Basic
    • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable
    • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related
    • Travel to return to a place of Residence from outside the
    • Travel required by law enforcement or court
    • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of Residence outside the Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.

 

What if my business IS NOT considered an Essential Business?

Your employees can work from home if their jobs are ones that can be performed remotely. Non-essential businesses may still conduct “Minimum Basic Operations,” as defined in Section 10(h) of the Stay Home Stay Safe Order.

 

Can I leave home to go to my church, synagogue, or mosque?

No. However, places of worship can offer remote access to services, such as by emails, video streaming, or teleconference.

 

If my child’s school is providing food or meals, can I leave home to go to the school to pick up the food or meals?

Yes.

 

Where can I go for more information?

To stay up to date on COVID-19 issues in Williamson County, including county office closures, please visit Williamson County’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage.

 

 
 
 

GLOSSARY/KEY TERMS

 

Failure to Comply – Section 17

Failure to comply shall be a criminal offense punishable by fine that does not exceed $1,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days.

*Covered businesses include any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure

 

 Stay Home Stay Safe      

The term “Stay Home Stay Safe” means to stay in your home and not leave unless necessary for one of the designated exceptions listed in the Stay Home Stay Safe Order (discussed more below)

 

Residence – Section 10(a)

Means the physical place where a person, group or family resides, including single family houses, apartment units, townhomes, condos, multi-family homes, such as duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes, manufactured homes and recreational vehicles (RVs), and hotels, motels, shared rentals, and other related facilities.

 

Covered Businesses and Covered Entities – Section 10(b)

Covered businesses include any for-profit, non­profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure.

 

Essential Activities – Section 10(c)

Individuals may leave their Residence only to perform any of the following:

  1. To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as, by way of example only and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication, and visiting a health care
  2. To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others and to food banks and food bank depositories, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of Residences, and obtaining supplies they need to work from
  3. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, or running.
  4. To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Stay Home Stay Safe Order, including Minimum Basic
  5. To care for a family member or pet in another
  6. To exchange children between parents, guardians, or managing conservators pursuant to a child custody order or agreement between the parties.

 

Healthcare Operations – Section 10(d)

Individuals may leave their Residence to work for or obtain services at any “Healthcare Operations,” including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, substance abuse service providers, blood banks, medical research, laboratory services, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. Home-based and residential-based care for seniors, adults, or children are also considered Healthcare Operations. Healthcare Operations also includes veterinary care and all healthcare and welfare services provided to animals.  This exemption shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of healthcare, broadly defined.  Healthcare Operations does not include fitness and exercise facilities, athletic gyms, exercise gyms and similar facilities. Healthcare operations do not include elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures. Hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental offices, and other medical facilities are directed to identify procedures that are deemed “elective” by assessing which procedures can be postponed or cancelled based on patient risk considering the emergency need for redirection of resources to the current public health and safety concerns.

 

Essential Critical Infrastructure – Section 10(e)

Individuals may leave their Residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of “Essential Critical Infrastructure,” including, but not limited to, work necessary to the operations and maintenance of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors as identified by the National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) and as outlined at https://www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors, including public works construction, residential and commercial construction, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services), financial institutions, defense and national security-related operations, and essential manufacturing operations, provided that they carry out those services or that work in compliance with the Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, including the six-foot social distancing, to the extent possible. Essential Businesses providing Essential Critical Infrastructure should implement screening precautions to protect employees and all activity shall be performed in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements.

 

Essential Governmental Functions – Section 10(f)

All services provided by governmental entities needed to ensure the continuing operation of the governmental entities to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public are categorically exempt. Nothing prohibits any individual from performing or accessing “Essential Governmental Functions,” as determined by the governmental entity performing those functions. All Essential Governmental Functions shall be performed in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, including the six-foot social distancing, to the extent possible.

 

Essential Businesses – Section 10(g)

  1. Healthcare Operations, Essential Critical Infrastructure, and Essential Government Functions;
  2. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non­grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of Residences;
  3. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing, and garden centers;
  4. Residential, transportation and commercial construction;
  5. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  6. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  7. Gas stations and fuel suppliers;
  8. Auto-supply, auto-repair, auto parts, auto-maintenance, vehicle manufacturing, vehicle sales and related facilities;
  9. Banks and related financial institutions;
  10. Hardware stores;
  11. Trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal;
  12. Cleaning, maintenance and security for facilities;
  13. Warehouse distribution and fulfillment;
  14. Storage for Essential Businesses;
  15. Funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, burial, and related services, provided that Social Distancing Requirements are maintained to the greatest extent possible;
  16. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of Residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses, in addition to emergency repairs for facilities of non-essential businesses;
  17. Certain real estate functions limited to real estate property management, including scheduling necessary repairs that effect the safety and wellbeing of residents, executing and managing leases (commercial and residential), renewal and adjustments of leases (commercial and residential); real estate recordings and transfers, including the execution and documentation of real estate transfers; and real property related services such as permitting, inspections, construction, procurement, representation and title searches;
  18. Businesses and providers providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  19. Educational institutions-including public and private pre-K establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities-for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;
  20. Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers;
  21. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Stay Home Stay Safe Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only;
  22. Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
  23. Businesses that provide Information Technology (IT) services that are necessary to maintain internet and telecommunications systems, including the provision of essential global, national and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications and web-based services;
  24. Businesses that provide residential and/or commercial moving services and necessary moving supplies;
  25. Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate;
  26. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to Residences;
  27. Any business or manufacturer who retools so that a substantial part of their business is for the purpose of manufacturing and producing products intended to be directly utilized for the COVID-19 response;
  28. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Stay Home Stay Safe Order;
  29. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
  30. Childcare, daycare and child watch facilities and providers providing services that enable employees exempted in this Stay Home Stay Safe Order to work as To the extent possible, childcare, daycare and child watch facilities and providers must operate under the following mandatory conditions:
  31. Childcare, daycare and child watch be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
  32. Children should not change from one group to
  33. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group should be in a separate Groups should not mix with each other.
  34. Childcare providers should remain solely with one group of

 

 

Minimum Basic Operations – Section 10(h)

Include the following, provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined this Section, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations:

  1. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.
  2. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their Residences.

 

Essential Travel – Section 10(i)

Includes travel for any of the following purposes:

  1. Any travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Healthcare Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations.
  2. Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
  3. Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
  4. Travel to return to a place of Residence from outside the jurisdiction.
  5. Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
  6. Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of Residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.

Individuals engaged in any Essential Travel must comply with all Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section.

 

Social Distancing Requirements – Section 10(j)

Includes maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.