POINT COMFORT – The mayor has issued an executive order that mirrors Gov. Greg Abbott’s decree and lays out specific actions for the city.

Mayor Leslie Machicek issued the order March 20, just a few days after issuing a proclamation declaring a state of emergency and disaster due to the Coronavirus-19. The declaration was signed on March 16 and will expire on April 15.

“We are taking the necessary steps to try and limit the spread of the virus and being diligent in keeping up with what the state is passing down,” said Point Comfort City Administrator Robby Silva. “We are trying to stay ahead of the game.”

The order includes closing City Hall and Municipal Court and increasing the levels of chlorine in the water to ensure disinfection, per Texas Commission on Environmental Quality guidelines. The city is also implementing temperatures for several departments, including maintenance.

The city had already taken steps to deal with the virus.

As of March 17, City Hall was closed to the public, which is encouraged to call with any questions. The city is accepting payments through the old bank drive-thru window and the night box.

The city had canceled its annual city-wide garage sale and fire department fundraiser early in March.

“We are taking this seriously due to the majority of our community being elderly. The biggest issue I see as a nurse is the shortage of hospital beds, PPE, ventilators, and a nursing shortage. I’m also concerned with contracting companies sending employees to be tested. This was a big topic of conversation with fellow providers. It’s taxing our healthcare system, and these employees are not showing any symptoms to begin with,” stated Mayor Machicek through Facebook Messenger.

The executive order outlined what city services will be available as well as steps for citizens to take. The Point Comfort City Council meeting for April 6 is still scheduled but is subject to change.

CITY SPECIFIC EXECUTIVE ACTIONS FOLLOW:

The following actions are specific to the city of Point Comfort in response to dealing with COVID-19. If an action is not listed below, the above executive order items are implemented as per the governor’s executive order.

CITY OF POINT COMFORT CITY HALL AND MUNICIPAL COURT

As of noon, Friday, March 20, City Hall and the Municipal Court will be closed to the General Public. Beginning Monday, March 23, City Hall will be staffed for minimal operations but will not be accessible to the public as the doors will be locked. However, personnel will be available to answer phone calls, faxes, etc. Utility, Municipal Court and other payments can be made online or by calling City Hall at 361-987-2661 to pay with a credit card during normal business hours. Also, for those who are local and need to pay with check or money order, you may do so by utilizing the Night Drop Box outside City Hall. Staff will periodically check the dropbox and process any payments left. If there are any questions, please call City Hall. Please be aware that there will be minimal staffing and several phone calls coming in at the same time may go unanswered, temporarily.

Previously scheduled Municipal Court appearances are canceled and will need to be rescheduled. Any questions can be directed to the Court at 361-987-2661 ext. 2. Notary services and print or fax services are temporarily suspended to reduce exposure to the public.

Should any city hall staff and municipal court staff find themselves becoming sick, they will immediately report to the city administrator, and then that individual will go into a 14-day quarantine, eliminating contact with the public and others.

MAINTENANCE CREW

All maintenance crews are on full duty but are limiting interactions with the public, maintaining the recommended 6ft spacing, not shaking hands, etc. Should maintenance crewmembers find themselves becoming sick, they will immediately report to the city administrator, and then that individual will go into a 14-day quarantine, eliminating contact with the public and others. Beginning Monday, March 23, we will begin implementing temperature checks.

SOLID WASTE

Solid Waste Operations will continue with normal service and waste collection.

WATER AND WASTEWATER OPERATIONS

All Water and Wastewater crews are on full duty but are limiting interactions with the public, maintaining the recommended 6ft spacing, not shaking hands, etc. All bulk water drivers will not be allowed to enter the office but will be allowed to sign in outside and get water like normal. Should any water or wastewater crew find themselves ill they will immediately report to the plant operator. The plant operator will assure that at least one licensed employee is able to monitor, repair, and maintain the water treatment facility and wastewater treatment facility without interacting with anyone else. In addition, higher levels of chlorine are being maintained in the water system, in compliance with TCEQ guidelines, to assure the disinfection of the public water system.

Beginning, Monday, March 23, temperature checks will be implemented.

POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT

The police department is operating normally except for personnel maintaining required safe distances to minimize exposure. Personnel that begin to feel ill shall notify the police chief and/or the city administrator and begin a 14-day quarantine to eliminate contact with the public and others.

The health and well-being of Point Comfort residents is our top priority. We will remain in touch with Calhoun County Emergency Management and the Texas Department of Emergency Management as to any actions to take or may be taken. It is understandable that there are concerns and uncertainty being experienced by the City’s residents and visitors alike.

COMMUNITY CENTER, PERMITS, PARK AND BAYFRONT

The City is no longer taking reservations for the Brush Community Center or issuing permits. This will be through April 12 and may be extended as necessary. Our parks remain open however; we ask that all children are supervised. No groups of more than 10 people. Practice social distancing and remain six-feet apart.

The April 6 regular city council meeting is still scheduled but may change as the need arises.

REDUCING EXPOSURE

Everyone is encouraged to adhere to CDC recommendations and Regional Public Health Directors. At a minimum, everyone should wash hands often, using hand sanitizer if available, avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth and avoid close contact with others. We ask, just like other government entities, the CDC and Regional Public Health entities have that if you think you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus or if you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath symptoms to call your primary care physician BEFORE going to their offices or emergency room or calling for an ambulance. Your physician should be able to assess your symptoms over the phone and let you know if you have the need to come into their offices. This will allow their team to take the necessary precautions should you need to come in.

Above all, please do not overreact and use common sense and reduce your exposure and other’s exposure to you if you are ill.