As COVID-19 spreads, city vows to crack down on those who violate restrictions


By SARA VANDEN BERGE


As news of a seventh confirmed case of COVID-19 surfaced in Erath County Wednesday, the Stephenville City Council vowed to crack down on businesses and individuals who defy social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place to slow the spread of the virus.

Businesses caught violating the ordinance could have their certificate of occupancy revoked.

“We are using an education and sanction policy,” said city manager Allen Barnes.

Businesses and residents caught violating the order will first face an “educational” warning.

The second violation could result in a ticket and fine of up to $1,000 and/or 180 days in jail.

If a business is caught violating the order again, it could face losing its certificate of occupancy.

“I think that’s a fair enforcement strategy,” Barnes said.

HEALTH AUTHORITY UPDATE

Dr. Kelly Doggett, the city’s health authority, said the seventh confirmed case of COVID-19 shows there is now “community spread” of the virus.

He also warned that the worst is still to come.

“Don’t let the small sample size fool you. We are still on the front end of the curve that is going up,” Doggett told the council. “We as physicians are overwhelmingly in favor of what the city is doing – and I think we can do more.”

GOLF COURSE RESTRICTIONS

The council amended the city’s ordinance Wednesday, adding new guidelines for local golf courses.

• Pro shops, driving ranges and practice facilities will be closed.

• Golfers must practice social distancing by staying 6-feet apart.

• Only one rider per golf cart is allowed and the golf cart will be sanitized after every use.

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Beneath the Surface News. sara@beneaththesurfacenews.com