Wichita Falls mayor addresses possible shelter in place

The City of Wichita Falls is closing some departments to the public and limiting access to...
The City of Wichita Falls is closing some departments to the public and limiting access to others.(kauz)
Updated: Mar. 22, 2020 at 8:43 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana has released a statement on a possible shelter in place order after Governor Greg Abbott’s coronavirus update Sunday.

He says a shelter in place order would come from local officials, not at the state level.

The mayor’s full statement is below:

"I have been receiving a high volume of questions asking if a shelter in place will be issued for Wichita Falls. During the update Governor Abbott provided today, in a sense, he did not want to make that determination for himself on behalf of the State of Texas. Rather, he left the very important decision of shelter in place up to local officials State-wide. The Governor also stated that he, along with his staff, are waiting to see the data results of the first restrictions that were set into place late last week at the State level. We set those same restrictions into motion last Friday for Wichita Falls and I too, am evaluating what the necessary next steps are for our community.

What I can tell you, is that even though we issued a Disaster Declaration, we have not, nor will we, stop the conversations between all local officials and community leaders. The following is a list of measures that are being discussed and considered, or that have already been put into place.1. We are considering a city/county wide curfew. This would limit the amount of movement that we might see during the late evening hours, particularly with our schools currently on an extended leave.

2. We are considering further restrictions on retailers and their hours of operation. This would coincide with the guidelines already implemented for no more than 10 people gathering at a time. This weekend, the Health district worked with the large essential retailers (such as grocery stores) and will continue to do so, to assist them in implementing social distancing practices.

3. We have closed or modified public access to all City of Wichita Falls facilities. We want to ensure the safety of both our employees and the public.4. This Wednesday, March 25th, City Council will have an emergency meeting to discuss possible further actions and to ratify the disaster declaration.I share the exact same concerns as the public. I also have a responsibility to gather as much information as possible, while considering further actions for our community. Shelter in place is a term that comes with great consequences and restrictions. I want to first evaluate, discuss and seek guidance from authorities as to what exactly that would look like for our community. All of these factors are critical as I work to determine if that is the best course of action now, or in the future. The citizens of Wichita Falls are my priority, please rest assured we are diligently working on this and will continue to keep the public informed."

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