Several area business’ doors will temporarily shut following new measures approved by the city Tuesday night.
Seguin City Council by unanimous vote on Tuesday — with half its members participating through video conference — adopted an order closing nonessential businesses in the city to help protect against spread of COVID-19.
The city’s ordinance shuts down businesses such as bars, wineries, restaurant dining rooms, indoor/outdoor amusement businesses, nail salons, hair salons, spas, tattoo parlors and more. It stops short of ordering people to shelter in place, which many residents had taken upon themselves to do on their own, Mayor Don Keil said.
“I think many of us are already sheltering in place,” he said. “I don’t know that it means any more than going out of your house for essential services (only).”
Restaurants that are offering take out, delivery and curbside services are still allowed.
"The order will allow for takeout, delivery, drive-in or drive-through services but require businesses to adhere to social distancing requirements of six feet between person for any waiting area," a news release by the city said.
The order became effective immediately following the 8-0 vote ratifying it. It remains in effect until City Council lifts it or Gov. Greg Abbott lifts the declaration of disaster he recently declared for Texas.
While in effect, the city ordinance bans gatherings of 10 or more people within city limits. Places like grocery stores, retail establishments, medical facilities, childcare facilities, office spaces, hotels, residential buildings and manufacturing facilities are exempt, Seguin Public Information Officer Jennifer Sourdellia said in a statement.
“City staff will work to educate business owners and the public and attempt to gain compliance,” she said. “Enforcement mechanisms will be instituted if the city is unable to gain compliance.”
Enforcement could include stiff penalties if it comes to that, City Attorney Andrew Quittner said.
Business owners who don’t comply could be fined up to $2,000 per day per instance of noncompliance, he said. Individual people caught breaking the rules also could be fined, he said.
The efforts are ongoing in Seguin, Guadalupe County, Texas and beyond. The goal is to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a respiratory illness leading to severe, flu-like symptoms in many people across the world and sometimes death.
Some communities such as New Braunfels and San Antonio ordered residents to shelter in place in recent days. Seguin’s goal is to avoid taking such a drastic measure, Keil said.
It won’t be necessary as long as people in the city take the necessary measures, social distancing, practicing good hygiene, steering clear of crowds and limiting groups, he said. He’s seen it in action and is encouraged by the response from Seguinites, Keil said.
“So far so good on that,” he said. “I’d hate to clamp down on that any further.”
City officials urged everyone to stay at home when at all possible and invited anyone interested to visit the city’s website, social media sites or call City Hall at 830-379-3212 for more information.