MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas — Montgomery County officials have added new restrictions that go into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday in order to help slow down and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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The amendment to the county’s occupancy order includes the following restrictions:

  • Hair and nail salons, spas, licensed massage businesses, tattoo parlors, and cosmetic businesses shall cease operations
  • Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities shall prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end of life visitation.
  • All restaurants shall cease all onsite dining operations.
  • All restaurants may continue takeout, to-go, delivery and catering operations.
  • Restaurants shall not allow any employee to report to work who is demonstrating signs of any form of sickness or having a fever.
  • All bars or private clubs shall cease operations.
  • Gyms, movie theaters, or amusement-type businesses shall cease operations.
  • Any event sponsored or permitted by a political subdivision in Montgomery County shall cease.
  • Events greater than 10 people at all publicly held facilities across Montgomery County shall cease.
  • Any event greater than 10 people held at private facilities is urged to cancel.
  • Retail stores, private businesses, non-profit organizations and religious organizations to include churches, synagogues, mosques or other places of worship are urged to comply with the CDC guidelines related to 10 persons gathering in any one place or at one time. Retail stores that sell groceries or medical supplies are exempt from this order.

Daycare facilities are exempt and must comply with DFPS and CDC guidelines.

Officials said any violation of this order is punishable by a fine up to $1,000 or jail for no more than 180 days. The order does not extend to law enforcement activities, emergency responses and court operations or grand jury operations.

The order is in effect until April 6.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.