Workshop Discussion and Update (Ordinance 20-H-18) - Discussion and update regarding the COVID-19 virus and our current Ordinance No. 20-H-18 Declaration of Local Disaster. (M. Browne/K. Long/S. Hall)
Mayor Gutierrez recognized Emergency Management Coordinator Summar Hall who provided information regarding the following:
•Moderna – 2nd Dose Allocations 1,000
–These will be administered on Thursday, March 4th.
•Pfizer – 2nd Dose Allocations 3,510
–These will be administered on Wednesday, March 3rd and Friday, March 5th.
•Civic Center Events Cancelled through June 15, 2021
–Provide adequate opportunity for current events to reschedule
–Minimize staff hours to set-up and take down vaccination clinic
•Guadalupe: 11,763 with 10,932 recovered --- 712 Active
Schertz 1,955 with 1,824 recovered --- 109 Active
•Bexar: 183,436 with 155,698 recovered --- 25,181 Active
•Comal: 8,571 with 7,714 recovered --- 588 Active
Hospitalization rates for Guadalupe, Comal & Bexar Counties continue to decline.
Executive Order - GA 34
•Governor Abbott issued Executive Order 34
–Relating to Opening Texas in Response to COVID-19
–Effective 12:01 am on 3/10/21
–Counties not in an area with a “high hospitalization” rate:
•No COVID-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishment (means can open businesses 100%)
•No person may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering (lifting of the state-wide mask mandate); however,
•Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.
•Nothing in the order precludes businesses or other establishments from requiring employees or customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including the wearing of a face covering.
•Executive Orders: GA-17, GA-25, GA-29 (Mask Mandate), & GA-31 Rescinded
Ms. Hall addressed questions from Council. Noteworthy for this week we will hit our 10,000 vaccine given in the City of Schertz Clinics.
Mayor Gutierrez indicated that he had a proposal for Council that Ms. Hall provide these briefings at least once a month at the first meeting of the month, thus not taking her away from setting up the vaccination clinics. Mayor Gutierrez received concurrence that going forward we will receive the briefings the first of month, and council will receive information in their packet on the weekly numbers.
City Manager Mark Browne came forward stating that due to the large number of doses Schertz is receiving is why they are canceling next week's meeting, he stated we are receiving three times the number as in the past, and it is a massive effort by staff. Some things have to give, this is also why they have closed the Civic Center, and we may want to go to two (2) council meetings a month through June, just have to see how things go. It is difficult to plan week to week, we may have 500 doses next week, or we may have 7,500, we may be doing clinics Monday through Friday. At this point we don't know, and they are not giving us any advance notice, this is what is driving some decisions that they are making.
Regarding the mask mandate, he believes this is going to cause some issues within the staff, and he would like to get feedback from the Council. Dr. Browne read the following: "No person may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering". He wanted to know that effective next Wednesday to say that we are not requiring the wearing of masks at City Hall, meaning our employees or our customers who come in.
Question from Councilmember Dahle who asked with the jurisdiction definition he would interpret it as being the area that the City is within the corporate city limits, and it's not dealing with the city staff. In answer, City Attorney Dan Santee indicated that they push out information earlier this afternoon that they disagree, and they don't believe this impacts the cities' ability to dictate terms on its own property. This doesn't take away that right. Councilmember Dahle indicated that he would support what ever decision City Management makes.
Dr. Browne indicated he would like to speak to other cities in the county and see as a group they are thinking. Mayor Gutierrez stated we can continue to wear the face masks up until the 23rd when we meet again and make a final decision as Council, but we can not mandate businesses on what their decision may be. City employees and City property is what we are discussing.
Various members of Council provided their thoughts regarding the wearing or not wearing of face masks. It was also discussed that whatever decision is made will set an example for the city itself and for other businesses. Dr. Browne indicated that there is value in getting opinions from other cities as they are in the same position as we are, he will be discussing this with staff. Dr. Browne indicated that by this time next week we will have a better understanding where city staff and other cities stand on this issue.