KILLEEN, Texas - The City of Killeen has issued a disaster declaration following its first confirmed case of COVID-19.
Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra issued a declaration of local state of disaster for public health emergency Wednesday following a countywide declaration from Bell County Judge David Blackburn.
In addition to the one Killeen case, there are currently four other confirmed cases in Bell County: two cases in Temple, one case in Belton and one case in the county outside of city limits.
The city says Killeen and Bell County have entered Stage 3 of their emergency response plans, which prohibit gatherings of 50 or more people. The plan also strongly discourages high-risk persons, those ages 65 and older or with health conditions, to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
Restaurants in Killeen may not offer dine-in services but may provide carry out, drive-through and delivery services. Bars and clubs are to close, along with recreational facilities, including movie theaters, pool halls, bowling alleys, gyms, and health clubs.
Medical facilities, schools, child-care facilities, grocery stores, convenience stores, shopping centers, airports, bus stations, offices, and residences are not affected by this order. In all cases, social distancing and vigilant personal hygiene practices are advised for occupants and patrons, says the city.
These orders are in effect for at least seven days, according to the city. Violations are punishable by fines and jail.
The city says it is taking all advisories about COVID-19 very seriously and has initiated a number of changes meant to limit virus exposure for employees and the public.
Actions currently in place:
- additional cleaning of public facilities
- waiting area spacing for social distancing where possible
- cancellation of City-sponsored events with expected attendance of 50 or more
- cancellation of public/private events at City properties with expected attendance of 50 or more; staff will be contacting organizers for rescheduling
Facility and program changes:
- Solid Waste bulk collections: suspended indefinitely
- Recycling services: suspended indefinitely
- Killeen Municipal Court: Court cases scheduled March 16 through May 1 are canceled and will be rescheduled; appearances for citations can be made by the listed date by email to email@example.com or phone at 254-501-7850
- Bob Gilmore Senior Center: closed until further notice
- Lions Club Park Senior Center: closed until further notice
- Family Recreation Center: closed until further notice
- Killeen Community Center: closed until further notice
- Sports Leagues: all adult and youth sports leagues (adult softball and volleyball and youth baseball, softball and soccer) suspended until further notice
- Public Libraries: closed until further notice; curbside service for checking out materials is available Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.by calling the Main Library at 254-501-8996 or Copper Mountain Branch Library at 254-501-7871; patrons may also use downloadable resources online
- Utility Collections: the lobby remains open for establishing new accounts and transferring service, but all payments should be made using the drive-through lanes or online
Facilities not listed remain open with regular hours.
Closures, amended hours and cancelations are in concert with federal, state and county guidance to limit the exposure of public and staff, says the city. It also allows for more thorough cleaning and maintenance of City facilities to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
The City has established a regularly-updated webpage with important information and resources related to the COVID-19 situation.