The novel Coronavirus Pandemic has impacted Texas cities, large and small, in innumerable ways. In response to the pandemic, many cities, as well as counties, have issued Orders of Local Disaster and adopted resolutions extending those declarations. But what should a city do when a resident does not follow such an order? How can cities protect their citizens from those few that violate the spirit and letter of these declarations?
Recently in one city, there was an individual who had been in close contact with a family member who had tested positive for COVID-19. This individual was not staying at home and self-quarantining. Instead, this individual continued to be out in public without being cleared by a medical professional.
Pursuant to the powers provided by State and Local directives, the Mayor issued a Quarantine Order and had it served on the non-compliant person ordering the individual to remain quarantined within his residence for the duration of his suspected illness or until he had submitted to a test for COVID-19 that is returned negative. This Quarantine Order was served on the individual by a city police officer. Happily, the individual ultimately tested negative for COVID-19 and was allowed to end his quarantine. Such a Quarantine Order is one option in a City’s toolbox to enforce its orders during these unprecedented times.