Georgetown Chamber and City of Georgetown partner to establish COVID-19 Small Business Resource Grant

As Georgetown small businesses continue to suffer financial fallout due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and the City of Georgetown have approved funding for the Covid-19 Small Business Resource Grant.

Each entity has committed $100,000 to this grant, which seeks to provide immediate financial relief to Georgetown’s small businesses in amounts up to $5,000. The grant will assist with business expenses, such as rent and employee payroll.

“The coronavirus outbreak has sent us into uncharted territory,” Chamber President & CEO Jim Johnson said. “This grant is a critical step to mitigate the economic impacts of this challenge and help workers and businesses to weather the storm and come out stronger when things return to normal.” 

Businesses may visit www.georgetownchamber.org/coronavirus-grant for more information and to learn how to apply for funding.

The Georgetown City Council voted unanimously Friday to approve $100,000 toward the grant at the recommendation of Georgetown Economic Development Corp. The City’s contribution comes from unused promotion funds the State allows Type A corporations to utilize at their discretion.

“The vibrancy of Georgetown is a direct result of the many amazing small businesses in our community that make Georgetown that special place we call home,” Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross said. “That’s why we welcome the opportunity to partner with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce to administer the COVID-19 Small Business Resource grant. The City is sensitive to the challenges our businesses and residents are experiencing, and we want to provide as much support as we can during this unprecedented time in our City’s history.”

For information about the City’s response to COVID-19, as well as other resources for businesses and community members, visit bit.ly/COVID19GTX.

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce is an independent 501(c)6 nonprofit organization with a mission to facilitate economic success for our community through advocacy, education and collaboration.

City closes Blue Hole Park to enforce physical distancing orders

Effective April 2, Blue Hole Park is closed to the public until further notice to help enforce physical distancing required by the Williamson County Stay Home Stay Safe Order.

The section of the trail going through Blue Hole Park will also be closed, and barricades will be installed at Scenic Drive and at Rock Street to close off the trail. Two Rivers and San Gabriel Village residents will still have trail access via the low water crossing below the dam.

“We did not want to close Blue Hole Park to Georgetown residents wanting to enjoy this community gem, but during the past week, we have received numerous complaints about overcrowding, and simply can’t ensure people’s safety anymore,” City Manager David Morgan said. “While we want residents of Georgetown to get out and enjoy our park, we have to maintain safe distances from one another to slow the spread of this virus in our community. If the City of Georgetown continues to see overcrowding or lack of physical distancing in other parks, we will have to close those as well.”

People who observe violations of the physical distancing can call the Georgetown Police Department’s non-emergency phone number: (512) 930-3510.

People with questions about the Stay Home order should call Williamson County’s hotline: (512) 943-1600. Calls are answered daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Effective March 25, all Georgetown Parks and Recreation amenities and playgrounds that don’t allow for physical distancing have been closed.

Closed

  • Playgrounds
  • Pavilions
  • Exercise equipment
  • Courts
  • Drinking fountains
  • Restrooms
  • Skate park
  • Gatehouse at Garey Park
  • Play Ranch at Garey Park
  • Blue Hole Park and trail going through it

Open

  • Garey Park
  • Bark Park
  • Trails
  • Open spaces
  • Dog Ranch at Garey Park
  • Equine amenities at Garey Park

Operating hours for amenities that remain open at Garey Park will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice.

Park and trail users are encouraged to follow CDC guidance and practice physical distancing by remaining a minimum of six feet away from anyone you pass on the trails and avoid areas where people may gather.

City facilities remain closed to the public, with few exceptions, including the drive-thru window for utility payments and appointments at the Animal Shelter. For more information about City services, community resources, and frequently asked questions about COVID-19, visit georgetown.org/coronavirus-information.

City closes Parks and Recreation amenities in response to Williamson County Stay-Home Order

Update: For the latest information on the City’s response to Coronavirus, go to the City of Georgetown Coronavirus (COVID-19) site.

The City of Georgetown Parks and Recreation will close all amenities and playgrounds that don’t allow for physical distancing. These closures will be in place until further notice. Staff will begin marking off closed areas throughout the day on March 25.

Now closed

  • Playgrounds
  • Pavilions
  • Exercise equipment
  • Courts
  • Drinking fountains
  • Restrooms
  • Skate park
  • Gatehouse at Garey Park
  • Play Ranch at Garey Park

Open

  • Garey Park
  • Bark Park
  • Trails
  • Open spaces
  • Dog Ranch at Garey Park
  • Equine amenities at Garey Park

Operating hours for amenities that remain open at Garey Park will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice.

Park and trail users are encouraged to follow CDC guidance and practice physical distancing by remaining a minimum of six feet away from anyone you pass on the trails and avoid areas where people may gather.

For more information about City services, community resources, and frequently asked questions about COVID-19, visit georgetown.org/coronavirus-information.

City Council extends local disaster declaration

Update: For the latest information on the City’s response to Coronavirus, go to the City of Georgetown Coronavirus (COVID-19) site.

City Council unanimously voted March 19 to extend the local disaster declaration issued by Mayor Dale Ross on March 14 through May 11.

The order’s primary purpose is to allow the City to take necessary steps to limit the development and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the city based on information provided by public health agencies.

The original order followed disaster declarations by the President of the United States, the Texas Governor, and Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell. The extension follows a March 18 order from Judge Gravell, which limits gatherings of 10 or more and closed County facilities through May 11. Judge Gravell issued the order in response to the first, confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Williamson County.

The declaration allows the City to allocate resources, reorganize personnel, and enact procedures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Georgetown. It also allows for state assistance to be requested if local resources are insufficient.

As of today, more than 10,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 150 deaths from the disease have been reported in the United States. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reported a total of 143 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three deaths in the State of Texas, as of March 19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects more cases of COVID-19 to be identified in the United States in the coming weeks.

Local COVID-19 information

The City has closed all City facilities to the public, effective 8 a.m. March 19 through May 11. This closure includes the main lobbies of the Public Safety Operations and Training Center, Georgetown Municipal Complex (GMC), and City Hall.

Staff are prepared to continue providing services via telephone, email, and other digital means. For department contact information, please refer to the City directory. Additionally, the City is preparing to implement a continuity of operations plan if such steps are needed to protect public health.

The City continues to coordinate daily with local, regional, and state partners and adjust its response in the best interest of the health and safety of our community. The City regularly updates its central COVID-19 webpage with answers to frequently asked questions and other resources and information for residents.

The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to seek medical care.

Health officials also recommend those at higher risk of Coronavirus because of their age or because they have serious, long-term health problems stay home as much as possible to reduce their risk of contracting the disease. The CDC has issued guidelines and quarantine recommendations for travelers returning from countries with elevated risk of coronavirus.

COVID-19 Update: Confirmed cases in Williamson County, gatherings limited to 10 or fewer

Update: For the latest information on the City’s response to Coronavirus, go to the City of Georgetown Coronavirus (COVID-19) site.

Restaurants, bars common areas closed, all Georgetown public facilities closed

This afternoon, Williamson County and Cities Health District confirmed four cases of COVID-19 in Williamson County. The cases are mild in nature, and the patients are recovering. For the most recent number of cases, please check the Health District website at wcchd.org.

In response to the confirmed cases, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell issued a second emergency order, which goes into effect at 6 p.m. March 18 and lasts through May 11. The order:

  • Limits gatherings to 10 people or fewer. This includes churches, religious services, weddings, funerals, concerts, fundraisers, and other, similar gatherings, whether indoor or outdoor.
  • Closes common dining areas at all food establishments. The County is encouraging these businesses to provide take-away and no-contact delivery services.
  • Closes common indoor and outdoor bar spaces for businesses that sell wine, beer, and mixed-beverages and prohibits these businesses from allowing people to consume alcohol on the premises.
  • Closes all County facilities to the public.

“These steps are being taken in order to protect the health and welfare of the residents in our community, which is our number one priority,” Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross said. “We’re partnering with Williamson County and other local and state agencies to make sure we’re all working together to have consistency across jurisdictions.”

The order does not apply to:

  • Government facilities;
  • Private businesses (i.e. grocery stores, retail stores, and professional offices);
  • Construction sites;
  • Schools and institutes of higher learning; and
  • Hospitals, health clinics, pharmacies, medial offices, and other healthcare facilities.

City facilities closed

In an effort to slow the spread of the virus in our community, the City is taking steps to limit face-to-face interactions with the public.

Effective 8 a.m. March 19, all City facilities will close to the public through May 11. This closure includes the main lobbies of the Public Safety Center, Georgetown Municipal Complex (GMC), and City Hall.

Staff are prepared to continue providing services via telephone, email, and other, digital means. For department contact information, please refer to the City directory.

“Starting Thursday, the Georgetown public will need to call or email non-emergency departments for services and questions, rather than coming to our facilities in person,” Georgetown City Manager David Morgan said. “We urge people to follow best practices from the Williamson County and Cities Health District to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Although people are encouraged to pay their utility bills online or over the phone with Customer Care at (512)-930-3640, people still will be able to pay their bills through the drive-through window at the GMC, 300-1 Industrial Ave. Drive-through hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. People experiencing a water or electric outage need to call Customer Care.

Additionally, the Animal Shelter will continue to process adoptions and drop-offs by appointment only. People need to call (512) 930-3592 to schedule an appointment prior to coming to the shelter.

Police Department response changes

The police department is limiting in-person response to certain types of calls for service in order to promote social distancing, while making every effort to continue meeting the needs of the public and ensure the safety of public safety staff.

As a result, the Police Department is implementing the following changes to services until further notice:

  • All calls for service that can be handled by phone will be.
  • Officers will continue responding in person to calls of a serious nature that pose a threat to persons or property or require more involved investigations.
  • Officers will not be responding to non-injury accidents in which both vehicles are drivable and not a traffic hazard. People will be encouraged to exchange information as required by law and contact their respective insurance companies.
  • Drug take-back services are suspended.

People can contact the non-emergency number at (512) 930-3510 to report non-emergency crimes, obtain police reports, and for assistance with other administrative matters.

 The City continues to coordinate daily with local, regional, and state partners and adjust its response in the best interest of the health and safety of our community. All updates can be found on the City of Georgetown’s COVID-19 news page at georgetown.org/coronavirus-information/.

City closes library, parks and recreation, and Visitors Center facilities in response to COVID-19

Update: For the latest information on the City’s response to Coronavirus, go to the City of Georgetown Coronavirus (COVID-19) site.

Changes in services made in response to Williamson County mass gathering limitations

The City will close the Georgetown Public Library, most Parks and Recreation facilities, and the Visitors Center effective at 6 p.m. March 16 until further notice in an attempt to limit mass gatherings. Private gatherings at Parks and Recreation facilities that will have fewer than 50 people will not be required to cancel this time.

The Georgetown City Council also has scheduled a Special Called meeting 4 p.m. Thursday, March 19, to extend the local disaster declaration until the  Council meeting on April 14.

“We are doing everything we can now to prepare for the reality of confirmed cases in Georgetown and are following county, state, and national guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by minimizing large, social gatherings,” Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross said. “The more we can limit interactions now, before Georgetown has a confirmed case, the less the virus will spread in our community. We appreciate your understanding, patience, and cooperation with these requirements.”

The announcement is in response to new requirements issued by Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell that limit the number of people who can convene at a given time to 50 people or fewer through May 11. The City will continue to monitor the situation daily to determine whether to extend or reduce this timeframe.

Red Poppy Festival

The City of Georgetown and the Red Poppy Festival Planning Committee are pleased to announce the 2020 Red Poppy Festival has been rescheduled to Oct. 23 – 25, 2020. Stay tuned at RedPoppyFestival.com for more details.

“We know this is an important event to this community and have made rescheduling it to a safer time a priority,” Mayor Ross said. “We are looking forward to seeing everyone come out in October for our first-ever POPPtober Fest!”

Georgetown Public Library

The library will be closed to the public starting 6 p.m. March 16 through May 11. People should hold onto their library materials until it reopens. The library does not charge overdue fines.

All WOW!mobile stops and outreach events are canceled through April 3, and Sun City stops are canceled through April 19.

Parks and Recreation Department

The Recreation and Tennis centers will be closed through May 11. All athletic field rentals and practices also are cancelled. Last week’s cancellation of all Parks and Recreation events, programs, and activities has been extended through May 11.

Private events expecting more than 50 people scheduled through May 11 at the Community Center, Parks Administration Community Room, Garey House, or other park pavilion are canceled. Full refunds and free rescheduling are available. For questions specific to parks and recreation facilities, people can email parks@georgetown.org.

Garey Park will remain open at its regular hours.

Council, Boards, and Commissions meetings

At this time, all regularly scheduled City Council meetings will go on as planned, though staff is working through options to hold these meetings remotely.

The public is encouraged to send written public comment by email to cs@georgetown.org and to watch the live stream of the meeting at gtv.georgetown.org or on the Government channel 10. Written citizen comment will be accepted up to 2:15 p.m. Tuesdays for the Workshop meetings and up to 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays for the Regular Council meetings.

The City will not be holding boards and commissions meeting until further notice, unless they have a State statutory requirement. The boards that will continue to meet are:

  • Planning and Zoning Commission
  • Zoning Board of Adjustment (if needed)
  • Historic and Architectural Review Committee
  • Building Standards Commission (if needed)
  • Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation (if needed)
  • Georgetown Economic Enhancement Corporation (if needed)

These meetings will not be streamed on the government channel, but we will continue to post minutes of the meetings. The public is encouraged to send written public comment by email to cs@georgetown.org. Time-sensitive items that would have been considered by other boards will go straight to Council for a decision.

Other events

The March 26 open house about the Austin Avenues Bridges project has been postponed.

More on Georgetown’s Response

The City has activated emergency plans to maintain staffing levels and provide essential services. We also have implemented the following measures to respond to the situation and to reduce the spread of germs and help reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Issued a local disaster declaration March 14. Council will consider extending the declaration until its first, regular meeting in April. The declaration allows the City:
    1. Allocate resources
    2. Reorganize personnel
    3. Enact procedures
    4. Request state assistance if local resources are insufficient.
  • Increased cleaning schedule and sanitation efforts at all City facilities: The City’s cleaning services are cleaning more frequently and with hospital-grade disinfectant, and directors have been instructed to have staff wipe down public spaces every day at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.;
  • Promoting hand washing and good hygiene in City facilities, restrooms, and counters;
  • Reviewing our Emergency Management Plan to assess and identify current and future needs;
  • Holding daily meetings and planning calls to provide updates and share best practices and concerns moving forward.

(All updates can be found on the City of Georgetown’s COVID-19 news page at georgetown.org/coronavirus-information.)

City issues local disaster declaration

Update: For the latest information on the City’s response to Coronavirus, go to the City of Georgetown Coronavirus (COVID-19) site.

Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross has declared a local state of disaster for the City of Georgetown in order to limit the development and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the city. This follows disaster declarations by the President of the United States, the Texas Governor, and the Williamson County Judge, and is based on information provided by public health agencies. While the City of Georgetown has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, this declaration allows the City to allocate resources, reorganize personnel, and enact procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Georgetown. It also allows for state assistance to be requested if local resources are insufficient.

2020-03-14 City of Georgetown COVID-19 Disaster Declaration

As of today, more than 1,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 40 deaths from the disease have been reported in the United States.  Texas Governor Greg Abbot reported a total of 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the State of Texas, as of March 13. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects more cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the United States in the coming days.

“Like our partners at the County, State, and Federal levels, we are working to ensure the safety of our community,” Mayor Ross said. “Right now, that means trying to limit larger gatherings and making sure we have the resources we need to prepare and respond here in Georgetown. The best things you can do are wash your hands and stay home if you are sick. If you do feel ill, please contact your healthcare provider before coming to a facility.

“If you are at higher risk of coronavirus because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is important for you to stay home as much as possible to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease. Our goal is to reduce the spread of disease to the point where our healthcare system can maintain capacity and properly care for our residents.”

Local COVID-19 information

The City is in daily communication with public health, city, and county officials across the region. We are sharing information with residents from the Williamson County and Cities Health District, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the disease and how to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Go to the Coronavirus information page for the latest updates on local response.

DSHS recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to seek medical care.

The CDC has issued guidelines and quarantine recommendations for travelers returning from countries with elevated risk of coronavirus.

Additionally, the City is preparing to implement a continuity of operations plan if such steps are needed to protect public health and has increased its efforts to clean and disinfect public surfaces. The company that provides the City’s janitorial services is using hospital-grade disinfectant and is cleaning frequently touched areas more often. The City also has instructed each department to make hand sanitizers available in common areas and for front-line employees.

City programs, activities, events canceled through March 31 due to Coronavirus concerns

Update: For the latest information on the City’s response to Coronavirus, go to the City of Georgetown Coronavirus (COVID-19) site.

The City of Georgetown is canceling all City programs, activities, and events scheduled March 14 through March 31, following guidelines from the Williamson County and Cities Health District. These cancelations are because of concerns about recent cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region and as part of the national effort to slow and delay the spread of the illness, so we can reduce the peak number of people who are affected at a given time.

A decision regarding the Red Poppy Festival on April 24-26 has not been made, and no City facilities are closing at this time. The City will continue to follow WCCHD guidance and to coordinate with public health officials regarding the festival and other large gatherings, as well as the need to close facilities.

Additional updates about the Coronavirus and cancelations will be shared as they become available on our website at georgetown.org/coronavirus-information.

Georgetown Public Library

All events and programs, public and private, at the Georgetown Public Library are canceled starting March 14 through March 31. The library will remain open to the public.

All WOW!mobile stops and outreach events are canceled through April 3, and Sun City stops are canceled through April 19. Items on hold can be picked up at the library’s circulation desk. The WOW!mobile schedule of stops will be kept updated with information about bookmobile services as decisions are made.

The library is not accepting new reservations for its meeting spaces through April 30, 2020.

Parks and Recreation Department

All camps, class, programs, and activities offered by and at the Parks and Recreation Department facilities through March 31 are canceled, and full refunds are available. This includes all spring break camps, group exercise classes, sport practices and games, and lifeguard training. The March 17 Rescue at the Ranch event also is cancelled.

All organized sport activities at rental fields, including the McMaster, VFW, and San Gabriel fields, also are canceled.

Parks and Recreation Department locations will remain open to the public, with the exception of the splash pad at Garey Park.

Private events held at Parks and Recreation facilities will not be required to cancel at this time, but people have the option to reschedule at no additional cost or receive a full refund.

Other events

At this time, all regularly scheduled City Council and Board and Commissions meetings will proceed as planned.

The March 26 open house about the Austin Avenues Bridges project has been postponed.

Local COVID-19 information

As of March 13, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgetown or Williamson County.

The City is in daily communication with public health, city, and county officials across the region. We are sharing information with residents from the Williamson County and Cities Health District, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the disease and how to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

DSHS recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to seek medical care.

The CDC has issued guidelines and quarantine recommendations for travelers returning from countries with elevated risk of coronavirus.

Additionally, the City is preparing to implement a continuity of operations plan if such steps are needed to protect public health and has increased its efforts to clean and disinfect public surfaces. The company that provides the City’s janitorial services is using hospital-grade disinfectant and is cleaning frequently touched areas more often. The City also has instructed each department to make hand sanitizers available in common areas and for front-line employees.

City hosts riverbank cleanup event March 14 (canceled)

[UPDATE: Due to rain in the forecast for tomorrow, the river cleanup in Blue Hole has been canceled. The City plans to host another river cleanup event Saturday, May 9, in Blue Hole. Individuals interested in volunteering can email tiffany.spicer@georgetown.org to sign up.]

The City of Georgetown is hosting a riverbank cleanup event in Blue Hole Park from 9-11 a.m. March 14.

During the event, trash bags and gloves will be provided. Participants are asked to wear appropriate clothing such as long pants, hats, and sunglasses, as well as comfortable closed toe shoes.

Volunteers will need to check in at the volunteer tent at the dead end of Rock Street behind El Monumento.

Individuals interested in volunteering can email tiffany.spicer@georgetown.org to sign up in advance or sign up during the event. The cleanup event may be canceled in case of bad weather. Follow the City’s Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.