I have just signed a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency for the City of Paris. I was drafting this document as I received the news that the first documented case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Lamar County. The purpose of the declaration is to give the City of Paris additional powers to help combat the spread of coronavirus. This also activates the emergency management plans to allow greater coordination in our response to the virus. This declaration also formally requests assistance from state and federal governments, and I have signed a letter to Governor Abbott to this effect. The part of this declaration that will be the most difficult is that it is now mandated that people avoid groups of 10 or more in an enclosed space. Businesses are mostly excluded from this requirement although distancing is still strongly encouraged. We humans are very social creatures. We love the company of others. We love to meet together and celebrate life with our families and friends. We console one another in times of sorrow. We worship and pray together. So this prohibition will be difficult on us all. But remember, this temporary inconvenience will help to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our community. By limiting our contact with one another, we will be helping to protect our friends, family and community. This ban is only temporary, and our experts will tell us when this is no longer necessary and we can return to our normal lives.
I would like to again emphasize that the most important measures are also the simplest. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home when you are sick. Avoid touching your face. Avoid contact with those who are elderly or who have other medical conditions. These and many other recommendations are reiterated at the end of the declaration.
Although this seems frightening, it is important to realize that there is no reason to panic. We are simply trying to limit the spread of the disease so everyone does not get sick at the same time and also so that many of us will not get sick at all. Our lives will be back to normal when this is all but a distant memory. So please heed the advice of the many health experts, public employees and elected officials who are all working together to keep our community safe and healthy.
Mayor Steve Clifford