Pharr Issues Live Safe, Work Safe Orders, Suspends Construction to Prevent Spread of COVID-19
Pharr, Texas – With the increase in positive cases of COVID-19 in the community, and to protect the health and safety of Pharr residents, Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. issued Emergency Orders 2020-02 and 2020-03 on Monday, July 13, 2020, aimed to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 continues to menace the health of Pharr residents and the Pharr economy, and the local Health Authority has advised on the need for increased vigilance by individuals and mandatory health measures from Pharr businesses.
Mayor Hernandez stated, “As city leaders, we felt it was our responsibility to take further measures to ensure the safety of residents in our community, and we need all residents to follow these orders.”
“We were hearing a lot of concerns from parents wanting to ensure that their children would be safe when the school year begins, so we issued guidance that no in-person instruction is allowed,” he added.
“We also noticed upon inspecting construction sites that health and safety measures were not being followed, so we needed to set clear guidance to ensure all businesses, including construction sites, are abiding by the requirements,” Hernandez added.
Suspension of Residential and Commercial Construction
Order 2020-02 suspends the construction of residential and commercial projects until each Site Manager comes into compliance with the City’s Construction Requirements and submits a work safe plan to the city. The order acknowledges that construction sites are inherently difficult environments for social distancing to occur, as they frequently require large numbers of individuals to touch the same surfaces, gather closely in areas, and use common facilities. All physical operations of non-essential construction projects shall cease upon this order taking effect at 11:59 pm on Monday, July 13, 2020. The only work that will be permitted to continue will be essential work, which will need to be approved by the city and will come into compliance with the city’s Construction Requirements and obtaining a work safe plan.
City peace officers, Code Enforcement Officers, and Fire Marshals will be enforcing this order. Any person violating this order may be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000 or other penalties allowed by law or ordinance.
Construction industry representatives and site managers are encouraged to read the Order in its entirety, along with Order 2020-03 Exhibit D – Construction Requirements.
Live Safe, Work Safe Orders
Order 2020-03 orders households of persons who receive a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 or those who exhibit symptoms to isolate at home for at least 14 days. Social gatherings shall be avoided or minimized, and gatherings of more than ten individuals are prohibited.
As families in Pharr were seeking guidance in regard to whether schools could safely re-open for the upcoming school year, the city felt it needed to act to address this issue. The order prohibits the in-person instruction of public or private schools until further notice.
Businesses are ordered to create and implement an infectious disease response plan and comply with the Texas Governor’s Minimum Standard Health Protocols, checklist for employers. Businesses are also ordered to require face coverings of all employees and patrons entering the place of businesses, and for patrons to practice social distancing protocols.
A first-time violation of this Order regarding social distancing and face coverings is subject to a verbal or written reprimand; a second violation and each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. A violation of any other section of this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000.
The orders took effect at 11:59 pm on Monday, July 13, 2020, and remain in effect until further notice. The orders, which include the requirements for Pharr families and businesses can be found on the city’s website at https://pharr-tx.gov/covid-19/ under the tab Press Releases.