TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Texarkana officials on both sides of the state met Wednesday afternoon to sign a Declaration of Local Disaster and discuss COVID-19 precautions that go into effect immediately.
According to Bowie County Judge, Bobby Howell, the signed declaration will allow the city to receive additional aid and supplies from the state and federal levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials say necessary equipment needed includes gloves, gowns, goggles, and medical machinery for health care workers.
The declaration also creates opportunities for qualifying small businesses in Bowie County that are impacted by the health emergency to access assistance from the Small Business Administration under its guidelines and rules.
According to officials, this also grants the County Judge the power to issue orders and restrictions on movement and travel within the area. As of now, Judge Howell has not ordered any restrictions.
“We are addressing this national health pandemic in a cautious, but responsible manner, using common sense and critical thought to address the issues at hand. We want to urge our residents to stay calm and avoid panic.” said Howell. “I acknowledge that each time I have to issue a restriction I am creating barriers to our economy and creating hardships for businesses. I do not wish to impede personal freedoms, but am taking only the actions absolutely necessary. Right now, the best thing we can all do is stay informed, use common sense, and show respect toward one another in our daily interactions and decisions.”
According to Mayor Bob Bruggeman and Mayor Allen Brown, there is no official order to close businesses and make citizens stay at home. The mayors are encouraging the people to follow CDC guidelines which include avoiding public gatherings of 50 or more, using social distancing, and wash hands often and thoroughly.
The mayors recommend restaurants limit customers to 50 people and spread seating out to practice social distancing.
“We’re saying, you know, voluntary curfew. We’re saying we would recommend that you not have more than fifty people at an event or restaurant or something like that, ” said Bruggeman.
Both cities have put a voluntary curfew in place for children under 18 with the hours of 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
“People understand that these are guidelines that we’re recommending. If we can do a good job of doing this, we certainly know this will prevent an outbreak. But if we have an outbreak, a lot of those things will become mandates and we don’t want to get in that area. We want to be more proactive than that,” said Brown.
City officials are recommending you use online resources as much as possible for shopping, bill payment, or talking to virtual doctors.
The mayors also released a list of temporary alternations to the normal operation of city facilities and services:
- City of Texarkana, Arkansas Board will not meet on April 6th or April 20th, unless a pressing issue warrants a meeting.
- City of Texarkana, Texas council will meet on March 23. The meeting on April 13 is canceled. The council meeting on April 27 is tentative.
- City parks will remain open. Visit coronatxk.org for a list of local closures and cancellations.
- Most utilities will not disconnect service during this crisis. Please contact your local utilities with specific questions.
- T-Line Lobby will be open from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
- T-Line buses will run from 5:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. and then again from 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.
Citizens can keep up with local COVID-19 informatoin at WWW.CORONATXK.ORG or call the public hotline at 903-255-5560.