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(City of Buda Weekly Newsletter)
Week of March 30, 2020
In this Issue:
  • Governor Abbott Executive Order
  • Clarification on Governor Abbott's Order and Its Effect on Hays County Order
  • Parks Restrictions/Closures
  • COVID-19 Dashboard
  • Buda Public Library Curbside Service Suspended
  • Buda Small Business Survey
  • City of Buda Conducting Business Virtually
  • Message to City of Buda Utility Customers
  • Aquifer Storage and Recovery Pilot Well
  • Autism Awareness Month
  • Buda's Birthday
  • Buda Counts: 2020 Census
  • Boards and Commissions Application Extended
  • City of Buda Water Smart Portal
  • City of Buda Job Opportunities
Governor Abbott Executive Order

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The Governor’s Executive Order renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services.

Today’s Executive Order follows the decision by President Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance social distancing guidelines and extend the deadline for these guidelines to April 30th.

Governor Abbott was joined for the announcement by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, and Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath.

“Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” said Governor Abbott. “Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve. As with all the actions the state is taking, the Essential Services and Activities Protocols is informed by the expertise and guidance of the CDC as well as state and local health officials. I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them. By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.”

The Executive Order renews and expands the Governor's previous directive to minimize social gatherings and minimize contact with people who are not in the same household. It also renews the Governor's directive to avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, and visiting gyms or massage establishments, and it expands the order to include tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons.

In accordance with federal guidelines, people are still prohibited from visiting nursing home, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance. Additionally, schools will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 4, 2020.

This Executive Order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The order also includes exemption for religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.

TDEM will maintain an online list of essential services specified in the Governor's Executive Order at  www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices/ . Other essential services may be added to this list with the approval of TDEM.

These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 12:01 AM on April 2, 2020 and will end on April 30, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.
Clarification Regarding Executive Order By Governor Abbott Effective April 2, 2020
And Its Effect On Hays County Order
(This is an evolving situation and we will continue to post updated information on www.ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation )

Governor Greg Abbott executed an Executive Order on the afternoon of March 31, 2020. That Order becomes effective on April 2, 2020. For the first time since the emergency response to COVID-19 began, the Governor’s Order provides that the Governor’s Order will supersede local Orders by county judges and/or mayors, at least “to the extent that such a local order restricts essential services allowed by [the Governor’s Order] or allows gatherings prohibited by [the Governor’s Order].” The Governor’s Order runs until the end of April, except that it prohibits in-person classroom schooling until May 4, 2020.

After analyzing the contents of the Governor’s Order, the 3rd Order of the Hays County Judge is effectively superseded by the Governor’s Order, especially since the Governor’s Order identifies a more detailed and comprehensive list of Essential Services. The Governor refers to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0 as the guide for what qualifies as Essential Services, but it also adds religious services to that list. He also provides for the possibility of businesses requesting to be added to the list by emailing the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) at  EssentialServices@tdem.texas.gov .

Commentary on the Department of Homeland Security guidance (the list of Essential Services) can be found at:

The Governor’s Order still prohibits visitation of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and it still forbids use of bars, restaurants, gyms, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, or cosmetology salons, except that it encourages take-out and/or delivery of food and drinks.

Even though some of the detailed guidance in the Hays County Judge’s most recent Order will no longer control, it is important to remember that Governor’s Order does indicate that businesses and citizens should follow the Guidelines from the President and the CDC. The homepage for CDC guidance on COVID-19 can be found here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html .

Additionally, and in support of the CDC Guidelines, Hays County urges those who qualify to operate under Governor Abbott’s Order to continue conducting business in such a way that patrons (and employees) are not made to remain within six feet of one another and groups of more than ten people are not made to congregate in one confined space.

Per Governor Abbott, the penalty for violations of his Order is up to $1,000 fine and/or up to 180 days in jail, which is a greater penalty than that which was set in the Hays County Judge’s now inapplicable Orders.

Additionally Mayor Haehn Amended his Order on March 27, 2020.

Under Judge Becerra’s order day care facilities that serve essential workers can remain open, with restrictions on how they operate in order to help ensure children and employees do not spread the virus.

See childcare service restrictions in “Section 4, viii” of Hays County Stay Home, Work Safe order:  ​ Stay Home, Work Safe Order  ​​​

While Hays County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order allows for day care facilities to remain open with restrictions, the decision to open or close is up to individual daycare owners.    

Mayor Haehn’s amended order also asks retailers to implement one-way aisles in their establishments to help with customer flow, overcrowding, and observation of the 6-foot social distancing recommendations by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Businesses will need to mark the floor at six-foot intervals at registers or other areas where lines are formed . In addition, all doors used for the general public should be situated in a way that customers do not have to touch the door entering or exiting the business.

All sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skateparks, water fountains and other facilities are closed to the public until further notice. Trails and green spaces remain open, but please practice social distancing guidelines and keep six feet of space between yourself and others who do not live in your same household. The same rules apply for HOA managed and private parks facilities.      

For additional clarification on Hays County’s Stay Home, Work Safe order please visit Hays County’s website here: https://hayscountytx.com/questions-from-residents-about-judges-3rd-order-answered/

You can also visit  http://haysinformed.com/ .

For non-emergency questions about COVID-19 please call the Hays County COVID-19 Hotline at 512-393-5525.

For City of Buda information on COVID-19 please visit  ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation

Park Restrictions/Closures
(This is an evolving situation and we will continue to post updated information on www.ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation )

Mayor Haehn has included neighborhood parks and private parks in the restrictions/closures.

The City of Buda Parks Department is following Federal, State and Local guidelines to limit the potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Implemented policies and procedures are in place to include:

1. Closure of all sports fields, bathrooms, playscapes, basketball courts, skatepark and facility reservations until further notice.
2. Cancel or postpone special events until further notice.
3. Trails and green spaces will remain open, unless otherwise directed by Federal, State or local authorities.
4. Please respect social distancing while in the park system-trails, tables, etc.
5. Water fountains will not be available for use.
6. Green Meadows Splash Pad will have a delayed opening for the season. Updates will be placed on our City website when available.
Please be safe and healthy during this time, if you have any questions please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 512-523-1081.
New COVID-19 Dashboard
(The information coming from Hays County will continue to change. Please follow Hays County at www.haysinformed.com )

A new online dashboard created by City of San Marcos provides the public with a current count and other statistics related to COVID-19 cases in Hays County in near real-time.

The data on the dashboard shows a snapshot of COVID-19 related information for the County, as well as the number of active and recovered cases per City.
For example, the public can see the current number of confirmed cases as of that day. The data includes the cases considered active or in recovery, along with the number of tests administered. The data is also available in map format.
“This dashboard provides our local residents with an updated and accurate picture of the spread of the virus in Hays County,” Ingle said. “It’s also important to note the number of individuals who have recovered from the virus in each city.”
The dashboard was created by City of San Marcos GIS staff in cooperation with emergency operations and the communications team. It will be updated daily by officials with the Hays County Local Health Department.
The online tool, along with other important information about the City’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, is available on our website www.sanmarcostx.gov/covid19info .  

County residents may visit

You can also find the dashboard on the City of Buda's website at www.ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation .

Good hygiene practices are essential:

Prevention Tips:
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day, including between your fingers and underneath your nails. Handwashing is considered the best way to remove germs and dirt, and hand sanitizers should be used only when handwashing is not available. The hand sanitizers should be at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective.
  • Avoid handshaking and high-fives
  • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you feel sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then put the tissue in the trash, or use the crook of your elbow if a tissue isn’t available
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household disinfectant cleaning spray or wipe. Clean cell and desk phones, computer keyboards, door handles, and work surfaces often.
  • Face masks are not considered an effective way to prevent someone from catching a virus unless you have close, frequent contact with a sick person; however, they are an option for sick people to use to keep from spreading the virus.
  • Avoid travel to areas that have been designated high-risk areas because of multiple verified cases of Corona
  • Individuals are encouraged to avoid large gatherings. This includes, but is not limited to concerts, plays, sporting events, gymnasiums, dances, and restaurants. Recreation activities that can be practiced in private are encouraged. This virus spreads by person-to-person transmission just like the flu, so limiting human contact can help prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
Buda Public Library Suspends Curbside Service
(This is an evolving situation and we will continue to post updated information on www.ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation )

Due to the “Stay at Home, Work Safe" order by Hays County, Curbside Service at the Buda Public Library will be suspended beginning tonight, March 26 at 7:00 pm. All items that are currently on hold will be held for 5 business days after Curbside Service resumes. You can find information on all of our eBook and downloadable audio books by going to our “Buda Library at Home” webpage here:  https://www.budalibrary.org/281/Buda-Library-at-Home
Buda Small Business Survey
To our budaful business community: your small businesses bring us together and form the heart of our city. Your care and hard work have not gone unnoticed. While this season has been tough on our local businesses, we know you are still here and you are still budaful. Let us be here for you. How is your business doing? How can we help? We’re here to listen.

Reach out to us through our Downtown Buda and Visit Buda, Tx pages for support.

And when you have a moment, please fill out this survey to help understand the impact and needs of our businesses due to COVID-19. The Buda Area Chamber of Commerce is working with Hays County Texas - Official to conduct this countywide survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HaysCOVID19Survey

City of Buda Conducting Business Virtually
(This is an evolving situation and we will continue to post updated information on www.ci.buda.tx.us/coronavirusinformation )

To follow the social distancing guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD), all City offices will be conducting business virtually. This means there will be no walk-ins, with all business being done via telephone and computer .  

You can contact City Departments directly at the numbers below:

Public Works (512-312-2876)
Buda Police Department - Non-Emergency - (512-393-7896)
Parks and Recreation (512-523-1081)
Utility Billing - (512-295-8845)
Municipal Court - (512-295-2562)
Library - (512-295-5899)
Planning, Permitting, and Engineering - (512-312-5745)

Utility billing and municipal court payments may be paid online here:  https://www.municipalonlinepayments.com/budatx . Additional ways to make utility payments include online through your bank, over the phone at 512-295-8845, and by mail to 405 E. Loop St., Building 100, Buda, Texas. Customers can also utilize the utility payment drop boxes at the front entrance of the building and near the library book drop. The Utility Billing e-mail that residents should use to communicate with Utilities is utilitybilling@ci.buda.tx.us .  

Municipal Court: Buda Municipal Court will be closed to the public starting March 20th. The decision is made in an effort limit the number of individuals gathering in a confined space to reduce the risks to public health. Although operations are closed to the public, individuals may still contact the Court by phone and email to get information and handle their cases; many options are available that do not require a personal appearance.

All court dockets are cancelled. Cases that are set on dockets will be rescheduled to a date after May 8th; individuals will be notified by mail of their new court date.

All individuals are encouraged to call 512-295-2562 or email the Court budamunicipalcourt@ci.buda.tx.us in lieu of making personal appearances to take care of their court business.
Park rentals, library programs and all City-sponsored events are suspended until further notice. 

Additional online resources:

Permitting and Inspections: https://www.mygovernmentonline.org/

Licenses, Permits and Fees:

You can view City Council meetings online here:  

For more information on Buda Library Services:
Buda Public Library Electronic Resources:  https://buda.biblionix.com/catalog/
Buda Public Library: www.budalibrary.org
Message to City of Buda Utility Customers
Dear City of Buda Utility Customers:

As you are aware, there is a growing concern over the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it continues to evolve. Please know that the City of Buda remains committed to providing safe drinking water to our customers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water regulations require treatment of public water systems to remove or kill pathogens, including viruses. The City of Buda uses chlorine as a disinfectant for bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. City operators perform daily chlorine testing in accordance with EPA regulations to ensure chlorine levels remain within an acceptable range.

The City of Buda has also taken precautions to protect our staff from any illness that would disrupt service. We have operations staff that are cross-trained and licensed in both water and wastewater operations to ensure safe and reliable treatment of water and wastewater in the areas we serve.

The City of Buda is temporarily halting late payment fees and disconnections due to non-payment.

If you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact either Public Works at 512-312-2876 or Utility Billing at 512-295-8845.

Hays County COVID-19 Hotline
Hays County has a COVID-19 hotline. The number is 512-393-5525 and it is operational Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM .
Aquifer Storage and Recovery Pilot Well
Work has started on the City of Buda's Aquifer Storage Recovery (ASR) Pilot Well. ASR allows the City to store excess Edwards Aquifer water in the Trinity Aquifer for use during peak summer demands or in times of drought. Water Resource Coordinator Blake Neffendorf explains the process.
Autism Awareness Month
April is Autism Awareness Month and April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day . Above is a picture of Zachary Weber (seated in the middle) and his parents Lisa LaPaso and Cavin Weber. Before the quarantine we sat down with them to talk about autism, the common misconceptions, and the need for more resources in public schools. Zachary and his brother are both autistic. We will share their story in the next few weeks in honor of April being Autism Awareness Month. Zachary and his mom also participated in our most recent Buda Citizens' Academy.

Buda's Birthday
This week the City of Buda celebrated its 139th birthday. April 1 was Buda's Birthday. This is your excuse to eat a piece of cake this week.
Buda Counts: Census Questionnaire Online
You can now take the census questionnaire online by visiting the Census 2020 website at https://2020census.gov/ . From March 12 to March 20 homes will receive official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond. You can respond online, by phone, or by mail. Computers are available at the Buda Public Library and staff will help you get started! Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year.
City of Buda Accepting Applications
For Boards and Commissions
Deadline Extended
A citizen’s point of view provides valuable insight into the operations of the City’s and Council's decision-making process. The job of Board and Commission members is crucial to the success of Buda's representative government. The Buda City Council is accepting completed application forms from City of Buda citizens interested in serving on one of our various boards and commissions. Deadline to apply has been extended.

City of Buda WaterSmart Customer Portal Open
Minor water leaks account for more than 1 trillion gallons of wasted water each year . Sign up for leak alerts.

City of Buda
Job Opportunities
Interested in joining our team? Check out our latest employment opportunities.

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