COVID-19 community transmission in the area is categorized as high, which means the city of Taylor has changed the phase of its reopening plan.
On Wednesday, Nov. 10, the city of Taylor went into the Orange or high phase of city’s reopening plan. Mayor Brandt Rydell announced that day about an increased COVID-19 risk based on guidance from the Williamson County and Cities Health District’s (WCCHD).
“Williamson County has now transitioned into Orange phase, high community transmission,” said Rydell.
WCCHD has developed a metric that categorizes levels of community spread of COVID-19. Its orange level means that the district has determined there is a high level of COVID-19 in the county.
“The Williamson County and Cities Health District makes recommendations based on the COVID-19 transmission rate to help residents understand the risks,” said County Judge Bill Gravell. “The guidelines are suggested for planning, but are not requirements. Local guidance may be superseded by an executive order from Gov. Abbott.”
Taylor’s reopening plan, adopted in September, is based on the same metric and uses a color-coded chart for a phased reopening of city facilities and events as transmission level increases or decreases.
“The city is working in tandem with the WCCHD and moving into the orange phase of our reopening plan as of today,” said Stacey Osborne, city communications manager.
Different phases of Taylor’s reopening plan dictates local rules on event gatherings, building closures and other happenings in the city.
“Event organizers must submit an approved safety plan and adhere to the social distancing guidelines listed in the plan,” said Osborne. “The guidance on capacity levels for social gatherings and events in public spaces determines which events are permitted to occur at each level.”
As the city has transitioned between phases, citizens have questioned seeing some events canceled and others allowed to occur.
“There are upcoming events in the city of Taylor that were planned when we were still in the Green or Yellow mitigation phases,” said Osborne. “The organizers of those events did submit safety plans that were approved by city officials, and we will allow them to proceed. We have asked the organizers to use caution and try to mitigate the spread of the virus as much as possible.”
The city will need some time to transition to the new mitigation measures that the plan calls to be in place.
“As we ramp city facilities and operations back to the orange level,” said Osborne, “we will ask the organizers of any additional events to please postpone or cancel them until the WCCHD determines that they can move forward without endangering the community.”
Taylor typically changes its current reopening plan phases when the WCCHD changes theirs. However, the mayor reserves the right to make a different decision if he deems fit.
“Each governing body is responsible for making decisions for their entity,” said Gravell. “As the county judge, I have no plans to enact another stay home order. Williamson County trusts our residents to be smart and prudent. We know that they will take the appropriate measures to stay safe.”
The city’s plan has four phases ranging in severity from minimal to uncontrolled community spread. Each phase lessens restrictions with respect to social gatherings, municipal building openings, public meetings, and indoor and outdoor events.
Phases from lowest to highest are green, yellow, orange and red. Taylor was considered to be in an orange phase for months before dropping to yellow Sept. 9, green Oct. 23 and then back to yellow Nov. 4.
To find out more about city reopening plan and what the current level means for citizens, visit https://www.ci.taylor.tx.us/1002/updates-from-the-city-of-taylor.