February 26, 2024
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Statement from City of Muleshoe and Bailey County regarding the Reopening of Muleshoe

First and foremost, let us say Thank You to the fantastic Citizens of Muleshoe and Bailey County who through this trying and difficult time have followed rules and guidelines laid out by local, state and federal officials to protect the vulnerable population of Muleshoe. Because of your hard work, sacrifice, and willingness to follow these rules, Bailey County is one of the only counties in the South Plains with no confirmed cases of Covid 19. We cannot thank you all enough for your willingness to sacrifice for the well-being of our community.

As I am sure you are aware, on Monday, April 27, Governor Greg Abbott announced his plan to reopen Texas. Monday’s press conference, and release of Executive Order GA-18, signaled the first big step towards a return to normal. GA-18 sets out “Phase 1” of the Governor’s plan by permitting certain businesses, which had previously been ordered to cease normal operation, the option to begin reopening.

Beginning Friday, May 1, restaurants, and retail stores across the state may open at a limited-capacity status. This means these businesses may open to the public and operate at 25% capacity of the total listed occupancy for that restaurant or retail establishment. The Governor’s plan also made specific provision for rural counties such as ours to increase capacity in restaurants and retail businesses to 50%, providing certain standards have been met.

Both City of Muleshoe and Bailey County officials’ have worked to ensure Bailey County qualifies for this increase in capacity. This is an important step for our local business owners, and for the people of our County. The Governor’s plan is a safe way for us to begin to allow pockets of our local economy to recover, while still keeping the public safe. Business owners now have the option, based on what they are comfortable with, to open up to the public at either 50% or 25% of their normal capacity starting May 1st.

Aside from our county’s size, the other factor that qualifies us to increase business capacity at this time is that Bailey County has yet to have a positive case. More information about case reporting across the state and data on the numbers of tests being administered may be found at https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/default.aspx, by accessing the COVID-19 case dashboard.

We urge everyone to familiarize themselves with the Minimum Standard Health Protocols issued in the Governor’s Report to Open Texas. As the Governor acknowledged, we have worked hard to slow and stop the spread of this virus, and that hard work has paid off. Going forward, we must keep up the strategies that have helped us make it this far and follow those practices to support a safe and measured reopening of our State and County.

The Health Protocols issued by DSHS and the Governor include:

• Maintaining 6′ distance from other individuals not within the same household. If distancing is not feasible, other measures should be utilized (face covering, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness, and sanitation);

• Self-screening before going into a public place, looking for new or worsening signs or symptoms of

possible infection.

• Washing/disinfecting hands upon entering a retailer/business/public place, and again after any interaction with other persons or items in those places; and

• Minimizing or eliminating physical contact with persons not within the same household. A complete list of the Protocols can be found at

https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/opentexas.aspx. The Centers for Disease Control Guidelines can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV /index.html.

Everyone should continue to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of the virus, which include:

• Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;

• Chills, repeated shaking with chills;

• Muscle pain, headache, sore throat;

• Loss of taste or smell;

• Diarrhea;

• Feeling feverish or having a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.00 degrees

Fahrenheit; and/or

• Known close contact with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19.

For information regarding symptoms, help deciding whether you should be tested, and to learn where you can go to be tested, visit  www.texas.gov/covid19/. That website also gives citizens the ability to search an interactive map which shows the nearest testing location’s hours, and directions.

Governor Abbot’s reopening plan also included provisions to significantly increase the number of COVID-

19 tests administered daily, to ensure an accurate accounting is being made of positive cases. We echo the sentiments of the Governor by reminding the public, priority should be given to testing those who are symptomatic, and to those who are high-risk (such as nursing home residents and healthcare/front­ line workers).

We have procedures in place and will activate them if or when a resident of Bailey County becomes COVID-19 positive. The public should rest assured that while we certainly never want to be in the position to activate all these plans, we have prepared for and will respond to safely meet the needs of our citizens.

According to GA-18, stricter restrictions may be re-applied should monitoring and testing reveal a resurgence in spread of the virus. The Governor’s new Order still explicitly prohibits the reopening of other businesses at this time: bars, gyms, public swimming pools, bowling alleys and video arcades, tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons must still remain closed at this time. Similarly, people are still prohibited from social visits to nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities.

As stated above, this process of safely reopening the city and county is not mandatory. Businesses are free to remain closed or limit their capacity to any number they feel is safe as long as that number does not exceed 50% of their capacity. If we work together to safely reopen these businesses and restaurants and there is no spike in positive cases, additional business openings and added capacity to already open businesses could occur as early as the middle of May.

As one of the Governor’s advisors in Monday’s press conference stated, this is not a situation where a

‘flipping of the switch’ to go back to life before the virus is appropriate. But this is a cautious step in the right direction, and we trust that our citizens and businesses will treat it as such. This has been a trying time, and while we aren’t out of the woods yet, we believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Again, we want to thank all the citizens of Muleshoe and Bailey County for what they have done to this point to help keep our community safe and what we know you all will continue to do. There is truly no better place to live.

Cliff Black, Mayor of Muleshoe

LeAnn Gallman, Muleshoe City Manager Ramon Sanchez, Muleshoe City Manager Gary McHone, Muleshoe Chief of Police Sherri Harrison, Bailey County Judge Jackie Claborn, Bailey County Attorney Richard Wills, Bailey County Sherriff



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