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TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF HARRIS COUNTY PARKS

ORDER OF COUNTY JUDGE LINA HIDALGO TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF HARRIS COUNTY PARKS

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency was issued to allow Harris County to take measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of Harris County residents; and

WHEREAS, on March 24, 2020, the Harris County Judge issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order, prohibiting gatherings and providing that residents stay home other than to perform Essential Services as defined in Federal guidance.  The “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order provided that in performing or obtaining Essential Services, residents should follow Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidelines on social distancing; and

WHEREAS, on March 31, 2020, Governor Abbot issued Executive Order GA 14 (“EO-GA-14”) relating to statewide continuity of essential services and activities during the COVID-19 disaster, which order is to be in full force and effect until April 30, 2020; and

WHEREAS, on April 3, 2020, the Harris County Judge issued an extension and amendment of “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order, prohibiting gatherings and providing that residents stay home other than to perform Essential Services until April 30, 2020 consistent with Governor Abbot’s order; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) continues to recommend an “All of Community” approach focused on slowing the transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing to reduce illness and death, while minimizing social and economic impacts; and

WHEREAS, the Easter holidays will occur this year from April 10 through April 13, and have traditionally been a time celebrated by families and friends in public gatherings.  The substantial and continuing risks posed by the COVID-19 virus to Harris County residents require extraordinary measures to protect the public's safety; and

NOW THEREFORE, I, COUNTY JUDGE FOR HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED BY TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 418, ISSUE THIS TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF HARRIS COUNTY PARKS ORDER AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.  From 8 p.m. Thursday, April 9, 2020 until 8 a.m. Monday, April 13, 2020, all Harris County parks and recreational centers administered exclusively by Harris County will be closed.  All public or private gatherings of any number of people at those facilities will be strictly prohibited.

SECTION 2. This order applies exclusively to Harris County owned, operated and administered facilities, and will not impact use of municipal facilities not administered or managed by Harris County.

SECTION 3.  All terms of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order adopted on March 31, 2020 and amended on April 3, 2020 remain in full force and effect.  To the extent that any provision of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order may be inconsistent with this Order, the terms of this Order shall control.

SECTION 4. Pursuant to Appendix 9 to Annex U of the Harris County Basic Plan adopted by Harris County Commissioners Court on October 29, 2019, and in accordance with Tex. Gov’t Code § 418.173, any law enforcement agency based in Harris County is hereby authorized to enforce this order and an offense under this Order is punishable by a fine that does not exceed $1,000.00 or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days.

SECTION 5.  The Harris County Judge will file this Order with the Harris County Clerk’s Office.

SECTION 6.  The Harris County Judge will post this Order on the Internet.  If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to any person, structure, gathering, or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision will not affect the validity of the remainder of this Order.

This Order takes effect at 8 p.m. on April 9, 2020 and will continue through 8 a.m. on April 13, 2020 or until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law.

ORDERED this 8th day of April 2020, in the County of Harris, Texas.

IT IS SO ORDERED

___________________________

LINA HIDALGO

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE

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