Operational Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) *UPDATED 5/6/2020

Release date: 05/06/2020 – FINAL UPDATE

This release shall serve as our [the police department’s] final update. The purpose of this update is to encourage you to follow the governor’s guidelines as regularly updated on his website https://gov.texas.gov/coronavirus. You may also follow daily mayoral updates so long as they continue by visiting https://aransaspasstx.gov/385/Updates-from-Mayor-Ram-Gomez.

Should our localized situation change and the need arise, we will continue updating this page.

Thank you.

*** Our FAQ page will not be updated from this point forward unless local action makes it necessary. We feel the Governor’s order and Guide to reopening Texas are well encompassing for most all questions. Please refer to them.

Are you in need of assistance with utility bills or essentials from your local HEB? Our Chamber of Commerce has secured funding for AP residents. Reach out to them today and see if they can help you. Call them at 758-0012 or 758-2750.

What to do if you’re SickTesting InformationSymptoms, and Prevention Tips
– Or dial 2‑1‑1, then choose Option 6
– Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., 7 days per week


Previous Information Releases

Release date: 04/28/2020

On Monday, April 27, 2020, Governor Gregg Abbott addressed Texas with and shared his plans to reopen the State in phases. During his address, he spoke about his latest order (GA-18). In addition, he released his taskforce’s guide for Opening Texas. Here are some highlights from the Governor’s address:

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  • Beginning May 1st (Friday), retail, restaurants, theaters, and libraries may open back up. They must only allow 25% occupancy while performing business.
  • Salons, barbershops, gyms, and bars must remain closed.
  • A business that must display a 51% sign must remain closed.
  • All businesses should still attempt to enforce social distancing and good hygiene practices for staff and customers.
  • The Guide for Opening Texas provides great resources for businesses by category of business, Give it a look!

As always, do not simply take our word for it. Please research the Governor’s order for complete details.

The City of Aransas Pass order is set to expire Thursday, 04/30/2020 at midnight. Until that time, the boat ramps remain closed – the number one question we receive. The City Council is set to discuss this very topic this Thursday, 04/30/2020. Once we receive direction from them, we will share that with you.

Are you experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 Coronavirus? If so, call your local doctor, call a local emergency room, or call the San Patricio County Health Authority at 361-587-3530 for further examination or testing.

Release date: 04/21/2020

This past evening, City Council met to discuss the current City Stay and Home Order and Mayorial order which closed the municipal parks and public boat ramps. As a result, the Mayor issued a new order amending his previous one. Here’s what changed:

  • Public boat ramps will remain closed;
  • Public parks will reopen effective immediately;
  • Playground equipment and toy structures within the public parks will remain roped off from public use.

That concludes the changes resulting from last evening’s meeting of the City Council. We may release more updates after today’s announcement from Governor Abbott. Stay tuned.

Release date: 04/17/2020

Governor Abbott releases big news today. It’s time to start opening Texas and get Texans back to work.

We have a recap for you. As always, please don’t take our word for it, visit the Governor’s website for complete details.

  • School’s Out! Texas schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year;
  • Retail-To-Go. This means retail outlets in Texas can open on April 24th so long as they deliver products to customer’s cars, home, or other location to minimize contact;
  • State Parks are Back! Governor Abbott reopens State parks on Monday, April 20th;
  • A strike force has been created and it will guide the Governor in reopening Texas in the most prudent way possible based on skilled recommendations;
  • Medical services to Return. Governor Abbott loosens restrictions in place on elective surgeries and other previously restricted medical procedures beginning April 21st.

Be sure to click on the provided links. We direct you to the actual language of the order and release provided by our Governor.

Remember, the current City Stay-at-Home order remains in full force. City Council plans to revisit the order and current restrictions at their Monday, April 20th evening City Council meeting.

Release date: 04/14/2020

It is time for some good news for a change. Are you or someone you know financially struggling during this pandemic crisis? Well, our EOC team has acquired some resources to help. Working with the Aransas Pass Chamber & Visitor’s Center, the following assistance is available.

  • Assistance for our veterans and seniors. The Coastal Bend Food Bank is providing care packages for AP veterans and seniors. You must apply through the Chamber by calling 361-758-2750. Applications must be received before this Thursday 4/16/2020 in order to take delivery of the care package this Friday. Aransas Pass Police Officers will deliver these care packages to the doorsteps of recipients.
  • Utilities, rent, and basic essentials assistance for AP residents. If you have been laid off or remain unemployed, you might qualify for this assistance. Again, please contact the Aransas Pass Chamber by calling 361-758-2750. Proof of unemployment is required. Call for details.
  • Lifeline support for affordable communication. This is a government-funded program provided by the FCC. For details, visit the FCC’s dedicated webpage or see the video below. You might just qualify for reduced or free cellular or internet service.

Release date: 04/08/2020

This evening, Mayor Ramiro Gomez issued an order to modify the Aransas Pass Stay at Home (SaH) order. This order comes after insightful clarification from the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The following implications take place as a result of this order.

  • All public boat ramps and parks are hereby closed effective as of 8 pm this evening and will remain closed until this order expires;
  • Non-essential businesses shall remain closed and violators are subject to criminal penalties as prescribed by the order.

This order supersedes all previous versions of the Aransas Pass SaH order.

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Release date: 04/07/2020

State Parks to Close

AUSTIN—At the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas State Parks will be closed to the public effective at the close of business Tuesday, April 7 in order to maintain the safest environment for visitors, volunteers and staff. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will continue to stay current with the latest public health recommendations and will announce when a definite reopening date has been determined.

“Given the myriad of challenges and heightened risks of operating the parks at this time, we believe this is the best course of action right now in order to meet the health and safety expectations the state has set out for the citizens of Texas,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD. “All state parks will remain temporarily closed until public health and safety conditions improve. During the closure, staff will continue to steward and care for the parks to ensure they can be immediately reopened to visitors at the appropriate time.”

View the Texas Parks & Wildlife release.

Release Date: 04/06/2020

During this evening’s meeting of the City Council, the Council took action that impacts the local Stay at Home order along with City services. Here are the updates:

  • The City Stay at Home order has been extended until April 30, 2020;
  • All non-essential City services remain limited or closed off to one-on-one visits. Review the Mayor’s update from earlier today;
  • Certain city fees remain waived until April 30, 2020. See the Mayor’s update from earlier today for details.
  • Finance Manager Sandra Garcia provided the attached financial report that has resulted so far from the COVID19 pandemic.

Governor Gregg Abbott spoke to the State today at 2 pm. He modified his previous executive order with executive order GA-14, which is posted below. Remember, where the City order and the Governor’s order conflict, the Governor’s order takes precedence.

Governor Abbott reported at this time while Texans are doing so well combatting this Virus instead of letting up, we need to “redouble our efforts” to make sure we beat this Virus. So, what’s changed?

  1. Two days ago, President Donald Trump extended his guidelines to April 30, 2020;
  2. Governor Abbott extended his original Executive Order beginning April 2, 2020, through April 30, 2020;
  3. This order redefines essential services/businesses as pointed out by Homeland Security and shared on the TDEMS designated website;
  4. There is a process by which a business can seek essential status via that website (as of now, this process supersedes the City’s appeal process);
  5. Visiting an essential business is considered an essential/permitted activity (just like it is within our local order);
  6. Physical activity like “biking, jogging, hunting, and fishing” are permitted activities (just like the City order states);
  7. Religious activities may continue over video or other electronic means. Churches can meet in person, but must follow guidelines as pointed out by the President and the CDC (namely social distancing, etc.);
  8. Some churches requested drive-up services where the family unit remains inside their vehicle, and the service is broadcasted. Governor Abbott stated this type of service was also permissible;
  9. Domestic travel is permitted;
  10. Non-essential businesses are allowed and encouraged to operate from home over technology;
  11. Governor’s Executive Order is set to expire April 30, 2020;
  12. Texas schools are scheduled to return to normal May 4, 2020;
  13. A violation of this order is a Class B Misdemeanor meaning you face a fine up to $1,000.00 and up to 180 days in jail or both. This penalty is more strict than the one enacted by City Council;
  14. Where this order is in conflict with the City of Aransas Pass order, this order supersedes and nullifies the conflict in the City of Aransas Pass order.

View the Governor’s updated order below.

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Release date: 03/27/2020

By now, most realized that all three counties that make up Aransas Pass have issued Stay at Home orders. Each one different from the other. As a City, the council feels it is important that Aransas Pass enact an order that meets the needs of the city and citizens which encompasses the entire jurisdiction as a whole.

This evening City Council approved a Stay at Home order that applies to the entire City Limits of Aransas Pass. Download and view the order in its entirety.

The following highlights are a summary of the order:

  • The order takes effect Saturday 3/28/2020 at 11:59 pm and expires on Wednesday, 04/8/2020 at 11:59 pm unless extended by council action.
  • Beaches and parks remain open for exercise and safe recreation.  (kayaking, boating, and fishing are approved activities.) Social distancing is required during such activity.
  • Camping on the Flats (east of Dale Miller Bridge) is strictly forbidden.  This means the 3-day grace period is suspended during this time.
  • Child and Adult care facilities are considered essential and may continue operating under the guidance of their licensing authority.
  • This order does not impact child custody orders or agreements.
  • Any non-essential business or industry seeking exemption from this order must contact the Office of the Mayor.
  • Aransas Pass law enforcement will only enforce this order. All other orders, if enforced, shall be enforced by law enforcement associated with that issuing entity.
  • REMEMBER, in accordance with Texas State law, price gouging during a time of disaster is illegal.  To report violations, visit this link. 

Release date: 03/24/2020

The Police Department has modified operational procedures and it’s important we share some of these changes with you:

  1. Non-emergency requests for police service will now be handled over the phone. Dispatch will screen the call for the best policing response. If you need us, we’re still here for you. Call us at 361-758-5224.
  2. Open Records requests have been suspended. You can still submit your records request online, but our response will be delayed until non-essential services have been restored.
  3. In-lobby reporting is still available. Officers and staff will communicate with the reportee through the security glass within the lobby. Be sure to pick up the lobby phone and alert us of your presence.">
  4. All approved arrests will be transported directly to their respective county jail in the county of arrest or warrant. We are not holding inmates locally at this time.
  5. The police department seeks to drive down expenses during this time and assist with city wide budgeting considerations. As a result, certain non-essential services and business transactions are suspended. Learn more about budget implications here.

Chief Chats Live on Facebook…

Chief’s Live Chat with the Community…

STATE MESSAGE

Today, at noon, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that goes into effect tomorrow at midnight. In brief, the order imposes the following:

  1. Limits social gatherings to 10 people;
  2. Closes bars and gyms along with dining in at restaurants. Restaurants may deliver food and alcohol to patrons.
  3. Closes off nursing homes to visitors except to provide critical care.
  4. Closes Texas schools.  

This order shall remain in effect until April 3, 2020, but could be extended. The Governor emphasized that this is not a shelter-in-place.

CITY RESPONSE

What does this mean for Aransas Pass? The city held a department head staff meeting shortly after the Governor spoke. Mayor Ram Gomez and Chamber Director Rosemary Vega were in attendance. The following operational changes will soon take place:

  1. The City Library, Civic Center, and pool will close or remain closed during this period;
  2. Public worksBuilding DepartmentCity Hall, and Municipal Court will be closed to the public. They will, however, be doing business by phone and over the internet. You can click on the one you’d like to do business with for more details. For general information by phone, call 361-758-5301 (City Hall).
  3. The Police Department lobby will remain open for essential services.
  4. The Aransas Pass Chamber of Commerce Director Rosemary Vega and her team will be reaching out to local businesses to apprise them of these updates.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

There are a few remaining issues that seem to keep coming up. We hope the following will help clarify and provide you with the best information we have at this time:

  1. Domestic supply lines for food, water, dry goods, and essentials are working. Many of the shortages experienced are due to panic buying. The closings announced above, DO NOT apply to stores, nor is that expected.
  2. If you or someone you know has found themselves unemployed due to this crisis, visit the Texas Workforce Commission’s website for more information. 
  3. For the latest information on this virus, visit the CDC’s webpage on COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

03/18/2020

Good afternoon, AP. I have taken drastic steps within the police department and to our daily operations to better protect staff, continue providing public safety services, and minimize the financial burden that public safety enforcement imposes on the community. As a result, the following temporary actions are in effect beginning today:

  1. Officers and staff will increase the gap between the employee and another when it comes to communicating with the public. Don’t be offended if the employee seems distant by not shaking hands or touching documents or effects shared with them;
  2. The police department has suspended the following public services:
    • Notary Services;
    • Fingerprinting;
    • Wide-scale training including LTC courses;
  3. Police department administrative fees and fines have been suspended. These fees/fines include the following (fee waiver does not apply to all businesses; inquire for details):
    • Alarm Permit or Administrative Violation fees thereof;
    • Accident Report fees;
    • Taxi Driver Permit fees;
    • Animal Control Service fees.
  4. Fee waivers for body camera footage requests will be considered on a case by case basis by the Chief or Assistant Chief of Police;

These temporary changes will be reviewed for validity on April 15th, 2020 and may be either terminated or extended.

My goal of instituting these modifications is not to create an undue burden on the community but rather to support the effort to minimize the overall health and financial impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. If any of these special directives to staff creates a burden on you or your family, my office is open to your feedback. You can share that feedback or concern by calling me at 361-758-5224 or emailing me via this web form.

– Chief Blanchard

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