By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer
Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver announced this morning that the City of Waco is in a “local state of disaster and public health emergency,” as all eat-in restaurants, bars and gyms were deemed to close in regard to COVID-19 concerns.
In his official public announcement, Deaver went into specifics about locations Wacoans are to stay away from and businesses that must close.
Tonight, this arrangement will officially begin and will continue to be enacted for 7 days unless officials say otherwise.
Restaurants may only provide delivery or takeout services, and indoor or outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people are not allowed in Waco.
“Businesses with alcoholic beverage consumption, or on-premise consumption, including bars… taverns or private clubs, shall close,” Deaver said. “In addition, all indoor recreational facilities, including gyms, health studios, indoor amusement facilities, including bowling alleys and pool halls and theaters, shall close.”
Peoria, Ariz. freshman Abby Kessen was in Waco when this decision was made by the city.
“Waco was still and peaceful which was nice but unlike what I was used to. It seemed like a ghost town, especially when I was driving around to get some food and there weren’t many cars around or many restaurants open,” Kessen said.
Waco public officials also recommended that citizens should stay at least 6 feet apart, stay home and asked that Wacoans do not attend emergency facilities for COVID-19 testing, only if one is ill enough to be in the ER.
Leaders in the Waco community also told the public that if they believe they could have potentially contracted the virus, to stay at home and not make contact with others. By self-isolating, Waco officials said people should be able to recover at home.
“Going out only while necessary, telecommuting using online services are available, and frequent handwashing are all important steps to slow down the spread of this disease. We know some of these steps are costly and disruptive, but they are necessary as we kneel to this healthcare challenge,” Deaver said.
As of Thursday, there have been 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Waco and McLennan County, the latest of which includes one Baylor student and two faculty members.
Additionally, McLennan County Commissioners announced on Thursday that gatherings are limited to now 10 or less.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District introduced an available number from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 in the area. This phone line is for general questions only and not diagnostic related. If you are feeling ill, please see a healthcare provider. The number is available Monday through Friday and is 254-750-1890.