By Carlos Morales
Marfa City Council voted unanimously late Thursday to issue a shelter-in-place order, which will go into effect Friday at 11:59 p.m. and could last through April 9.
Marfa follows a growing list of cities and counties across the state that have issued similar orders as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas climbs.
The shelter-in-place order requires nonessential businesses to close and, with a few exceptions, prohibits public and private gatherings of any number of people. Members of a single household or residence are not barred from gathering.
Essential businesses, like grocery stores and laundromats, can remain open. Hardware stores, banks and gas stations are also among those businesses that are exempt. Restaurants providing take out and delivery options are also able to continue operating. Under the order, outdoor activity is allowed—you’re still able to hike, bike or run as long as you are socially distancing yourself from others while outside.
As the order is written, Marfa residents are able to leave their homes for the following essential activities:
- For health and safety reasons, including trips to buy medicine or visiting a doctor.
- For necessary services and items, including pet supplies and groceries, for yourself and family members.
- For outdoor activity—as long as you comply with social distancing requirements.
- For specific kinds of work, including law enforcement, first responders, essential businesses and essential infrastructure operations, including solid waste collection. (All city employees that do not live in Marfa are required to shelter in their county of residence and work remotely.)
Under the order, travel is also limited to essential trips only. The following are a few examples of the kinds of travel still allowed:
- Travel to care for the elderly, minors or other vulnerable persons.
- Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
- Travel for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the county.
If a resident violates Marfa’s shelter-in-place order, they could face a fine of no more than $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
Marfa Public Radio’s broadcast and news coverage will continue uninterrupted. Under the shelter-in-place order, newspapers and radio stations are considered essential businesses.