Over the last few weeks, the City Council and I have worked to take measured, responsible steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community; we first restricted gatherings to 250 individuals, and as new data was collected, to 50. When Governor Greg Abbott mandated gatherings of no more than 10, we followed suit to insure compliance with the State and the best for our community.
I can assure you local health care professionals, City administrators, and County and City elected officials are in constant conversation and evaluation of our situation, which includes daily conference calls with the Centers for Disease Control, Governor Abbott’s office, Health and Human Services, Congressman Jody Arrington’s office, and Representative Stan Lambert’s office. County Judge Downing Bolls and I communicate multiple times each day. Additionally, I communicate multiple times a day with the mayors of West Texas. Abilene leaders, and a great number of our residents have responded incredibly well to the COVID-19 pandemic, its call for social distancing, and our shared responsibility in caring for the health of our community. I believe it’s because of that diligence in self-regulation and care for our families and neighbors that Abilene is currently in a better position than the majority of the state.
However, having said that, I am also troubled by a few recent events that could have significantly elevated the risk of COVID-19’s spread and infection; not only for attendees of these events, but also for the many people those individuals would subsequently be in contact with. In light of this, I plan to present before the City Council my desire to create a Limited Shelter in Place (LSIP) order for the next 14 days.
I have asked City Manager Robert Hanna to provide recommendations for this Limited Shelter in Place order. It will be presented at a special called meeting Monday, March 30, 2020 at 11:15 a.m in Council Chambers at Abilene City Hall.
As we’ve communicated before, Abilene’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly developing, fluid situation. I want to be clear that the evolution of this situation, the data we receive, our team’s input, and the seriousness our community chooses to follow the Limited Shelter in Place order will dictate whether more aggressive measures need to be implemented. While we need to take this seriously, there is no need to begin panic buying supplies or hoarding groceries. I simply ask Abilene residents to please follow the parameters of the LSIP order following its release Monday, heed CDC guidelines, and use common sense. The health of our entire community is at stake.