Beginning noon tomorrow, Nacogdoches county will be under Stay Safe, Stay Home orders until 12:59 p.m. April 7.

All individuals currently living in Nacogdoches may not leave their homes unless performing an essential activity. According to a press release on the City of Nacogdoches – city government Facebook account, individuals who violate the orders are punishable up to a fee of $10,000 or confinement in jail up to 180 days. The actions would be considered a threat to public health. The change comes from Mayor Shelley Brophy and County Judge Gregg Sowell in response to COVID-19 and is similar to orders given in other Texas cities.

“A local state of disaster for public health emergency is hereby declared for the City of Nacogdoches, Texas…” according to the official declaration that can be found here.

Essential activities include:

- Activities essential to one’s health or safety, including but not limited to pets

- Obtaining necessary services or supplies for themselves, family or household members

- Engaging in outdoor activity as long as individuals practice social distancing (6 feet apart)

- Performing work providing essential products and services at an essential business

 “I don’t take this decision lightly or without considerable forethought to how it will affect our community,” Sowell said in a press release. “We’re at the point where only stringent measures to maximize social distancing will combat the spread of this virus. We cannot allow our hospitals and healthcare workers to be overwhelmed.”

All public and private gatherings consisting of more than 10 people or anyone other than a person’s own household or family are prohibited. Both Sowell and Brophy emphasize keeping healthcare providers and essential workers safe in their statements.

“Covid-19 is serious and we need to take is seriously, because it is more contagious than our seasonal flu, and can spread between people without any symptoms,” Brophy said in a video posted to the City of Nacogdoches Facebook page. “It is imperative that we do not go out in public… we must protect our health professionals. We must protect our first responders; those that work in grocery stores and volunteer to help feed others, those who work with our city services and other businesses that provide true essentials. They are putting their lives at risk to keep you safe.”

In response to the orders, SFA Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Adam Peck tweeted the city’s press release and said “This raises a lot of questions that we won’t have immediate answers to. I promise we will be in touch soon to communicate about what this means for #SFASU students.”

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