Tuesday night saw a Cleburne council meeting like no other. No audience members were to be found in council chambers, which instead held only a handful of city staff three council members one of whom, Chris Boedeker, sported a black face mask. Councilmen Bob Kelly and John Warren communicated with the remainder of the council via telephone from separate rooms in the Booker T. Washington Recreation & Community Center, which was otherwise closed to the public. All played into steps taken by the city to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in particular the rule prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10.
Shortly before Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Scott Cain issued two additional regulations, his fourth such order of the past two weeks, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first addresses residential gatherings.
The rule places no limit on the number of people who may permanently reside in a residence. It does, however, restrict the number of guests allowed to a total of no more than 10 people allowed to gather in the residence or on the property at one time.
The second rule concerns all facilities providing groceries, home improvement items, pharmaceutical supplies and animal and household supplies. Such facilities must from the time of opening to 8 a.m. or for at least one hour upon opening restrict customer shopping to those who are 60 or older and/or those who are handicapped and need assistance shopping. Individuals affected may be accompanied by a caregiver.
Council members voted to extend the declaration of local disaster Cain issued on March 13 for seven days through April 4.
City elections moved to November
The ongoing COVID-19 prompted council to postpone the city’s scheduled May 2 election to Nov. 3 instead.
Gov. Greg Abbott on March 18 signed a proclamation allowing such a move, which several Texas cities have already deemed fit to approve.
In that election Warren sits unopposed. Kelly chose not to seek re-election. Candidate Derek Weathers is running unopposed for his seat.
Cain seeks re-election challenged by candidates John Paul “JP” Lowering and Tommy Molloy. Given that he is the sole sitting council member facing opponents, Cain recused himself from discussion and vote on the matter.