As Texans read nationwide headlines of government officials enacting restrictions in response to the coronavirus, Williamson County citizens will now feel those effects directly at home.

On Wednesday, County Judge Bill Gravell announced new rules for the entire county amid the virus: all dine-in restaurants and bars must close, and all public gatherings over 10 people are prohibited.

Restaurants that close their dining rooms may still choose to operate a carryout or delivery service—but as far as public gatherings go, all are prohibited.

“This applies as well to our churches, weddings, religious services, or activities; it applies to concerts, it applies to funerals, it applies to fundraisers and other similar activities,” Gravell said.

In addition to the county’s restrictions, numerous area school districts have closed for extended periods, as district officials continue to figure out alternative options.

“These are drastic measures that we are taking to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in our community so that the healthcare facilities that we have will not be overwhelmed in the days to come,” Gravell said.

As of Wednesday, health officials have confirmed four coronavirus cases in Williamson County. Gravell’s order follows a similar one from Austin Mayor Steve Adler yesterday, but Adler also enacted a $1,000 fine for violators.

“To the people of Central Texas, it is our responsibility to come together for a time such as this, for us to be prepared and not be scared,” added Gravell.

County health officials encouraged citizens to practice good hygiene by hand-washing with soap and water, avoiding touching your face, and staying home when sick.

The county’s order will take effect at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and will continue for nearly two months, until May 11.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.