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Judge Jeff Branick talks Jefferson County shutdown, restrictions, what’s allowed

Many changes are coming to Jefferson County with the implementation of the latest amended emergency order that shutters bars and nightclubs, orders restaurants to close their dining rooms and limits gatherings to 10 people or less.

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick signed the third amended emergency order at 5:38 p.m. Wednesday, hours after the public learned that a Beaumont resident had contracted COVID-19, or coronavirus.

The order shall remain in effect until amended or terminated. It’s the latest government-sanctioned restriction in response to the spread of COVID-19 that began Friday with the first disaster declaration in Jefferson County.

Any event sponsored or permitted by Jefferson County shall cease and events greater than 10 people shall cease at all public facilities across Jefferson County, according to the order.
Branick said this can apply to church services.

Bishop Curtis Guillory of the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont on Wednesday suspended all liturgical and sacramental services in light of the coronavirus.

Some churches, including Catholic, offer live streaming of services.

The order also affects funerals and weddings, Branick said via phone interview with The News Wednesday evening.

One issue he expects to be addressed soon by the Texas Department of State Health Services is childcare facilities.

Industry, obviously a large part of the local economy and a major employer, will be allowed to operate as long as there is some type of screening at the gate for fever and other coronavirus symptoms.

Media can operate as long as there are no more than 10 people in one room at a time. The media, he said, has an option to work from home and that may be a better course of action.

City council, county commissioners and school board meetings may be covered by a decree set forth by the Governor on Tuesday morning, but Branick had not had time to study the information at press time.

Other changes include the operation of grocery stores and convenience stores, which are encouraged to remain open, but citizens are urged to use the delivery or curbside services of local supermarkets.

Nursing homes and seniors living facilities shall limit visitation.

A 24-hour curfew is ordered in Jefferson County for all under the age of 18, those not in school, those not accompanied by an adult or guardian and those not going directly to their place of employment or home.

A person is ordered not to sell any goods or services for more than the price a person was charged for them before March 12, 2020.