Local leaders answer questions about shelter in place

Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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Brazos County’s shelter-in-place goes into effect Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. and there are still questions about the eight-page declaration for residents.

“What we’re encouraging folks to do before they go too excited is review the document and see if the answer isn’t in there,” said Bryan Deputy City Manager Hugh Walker.

Walker said the declaration includes a list of essential activities, infrastructure, governmental functions, and businesses that are still allowed during the mandate to stay home.

“If someone believes they are an essential business, they have that opportunity to operate, but if they’re questioned, they need to be able to provide a response as to why they think they’re an essential business,” said Walker.

If you don’t think your job falls under the essential businesses and you’re still working, College Station Assistant Chief of Police Brandy Norris said the city will do everything it can to first get into contact with employers.

“We will follow up as best we can and see if we can make contact with the business owners,” said Norris.

Violators will first be educated on what the ordinance does and does not allow. Only those who refuse to comply could be punished.

"It is a Class C misdemeanor. It's a city ordinance violation. So if someone absolutely refused to comply then can be cited," said Norris.

“If someone really digs in, and just absolutely refuses, they can be arrested,” said Norris. “You can be fined up to $1,000 up to each offense.”

Bryan, College Station and Brazos County authorities want the community to know that you’re not locked in your house. A shelter-in-place is not a lockdown.

Essential activities like outdoor exercise is still allowed. So is grocery shopping, transportation, restaurants, daycares, and banks. But even in those places, you should try to keep as much distance as possible from others.

If you are wondering what your legal rights are about being forced to work during this time,

The city of Bryan says it's putting together an FAQ document that should be released by the end of the week that should help answer more questions that residents have at this time.

We also have a story online that provides additional resources