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'Stay Home, Work Safe' | San Antonio city officials answer your questions about the order

What businesses can still stay open? Can you go for a run? Can you visit your parents at a nursing home?

SAN ANTONIO — Q: How is this order going to be enforced? If I leave my house, will I be stopped by a police officer or deputy?

A: SAPD is not going to pull you over if you are outside your home. You don't need a permission slip to prove you work for a business that is exempt from the order. Enforcement will focus on the businesses that should be closed, and on enforcing that proper social distancing is being practiced. 

Q: Are all call centers considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes. But they must practice adequate social distancing, as with all businesses that are still allowed to operate under the order. 

Q: Are chiropractors considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes. 

Q: Are baby-sitting businesses considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes. 

Q: Are bike shops and bike repair shops considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes. 

Q: Are photography businesses considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: If it's a home-based business and social distancing can be practiced, then yes. 

Q:  Are pet-related businesses considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes, it falls under the residential category. 

Q:  Are home service businesses such as plumbing and electrical work considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes. For the most part, anything that falls under the repair or maintenance of a home or business will be allowed to continue operating. 

Q:  Are car rental businesses considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes. Anything related to transportation and the movement of people is allowed to continue operating as they support the community. 

Q: What about a realtor who wants to show properties to a client? Is that allowed?

A: The short answer is yes. If the realtor has the ability to maintain proper social distancing when showing a home. 

Q: Are farmers' markets OK?

A: Yes, so long as social distancing is maintained. That applies to every exempt business, regardless. 

Q: What about a landscaping business?

A. Those are allowed. They fall under the category of maintaining your residents. 

Q: Are hardware stores considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A. They are exempt and allowed to remain open. 

Q: Are moving companies considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: They are exempt.

Q:  Are book stores considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: If they can do it in a way that is accomplished via an online or telephone order and then the customer goes to pick it up, that is permitted. But if you're purely a book store, we don't want in-store shopping. 

Q: Will people who leave their homes be stopped by officers or deputies? Do you need a document to prove you can leave?

A: People won't be stopped on the street. They are being asked to stay home, while enforcement will focus on the businesses and organizations that should close in accordance with the order. Businesses that remain open should practice proper social distancing. 

Q: Are mail delivery and courier services considered exempt and allowed to remain operable?

A: They are allowed. 

Q: Are tire shops and mechanics considered exempt and allowed to remain open and operable?

A: They are allowed. 

Q: Are house-keeping and office-cleaning businesses considered exempt and allowed to remain operable?

A: They are allowed. 

Q: Are liquor stores considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: They are allowed, as they fall under the food category of exemptions. 

Q: Are car dealerships considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: They are allowed, as they fall under the transportation exemption. 

Q: Are flowers shops considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: To the extent that they serve an essential business, but no retail property. 

Q: Are funeral homes considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: They are allowed, so long as they maintain proper social distancing practice. 

Q: Are malls and flea markets considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: That's going to fall under the category of most-likely closed. If stores provide a necessary good, then they'll be allowed to operate. But for the most part, malls are going to be closed. 

Q: Can residents go running?

A: Yes. It falls under the outdoor exercise exemption. 

Q: What is the difference between "stay home, work safe" and shelter-in-place?

A: Based on the various orders that have been issued by states and cities across the country, they're substantially similar. When you hear, shelter-in-place, it is substantially similar to our stay home, work safe order. You'll find the same categories of businesses exempted. For purposes of talking about both of them, they're substantially the same. 

Q: Can a resident take a drive around simply to get out of their house?

A: Yes. If you need to get out of your house for your mental health, do so. Take a walk, drive down the street. The order largely affects places where large groups of people tend to gather.

Q: Where can I get more information about the novel coronavirus?

A: Either the city or county websites. You can also call the city's hotline at (210)207-5779, or also 311. 

Q: May I still go update my car title and vehicle registration?

A: While the county assessor's office is making some changes, they will continue to operate. They are limiting the access in the lobby, but should still have services available. If you are a resident seeking their services, you are encouraged to call first. 

Q: Can I move to a new home or apartment, and transfer items from a storage unit to my new home or apartment?

A: Yes. 

Q: Can people still travel to see family?

A: It depends. Supporting a family member and helping to supply them at this time, as well as be an emotional support for them...that is allowed. What is being discouraged are big group celebrations. Those have to be put off. 

Q: Can people travel in and out of the city. 

A: Yes. 

Q: Who do we notify if a business isn't actually following the order?

A: Contact the police department's non-emergency line at (210)207-SAPD. Do not call 911. 

Q: What other COVID-19 resources are available for those without internet access?

A: There is a hotline for city residents to call. That number is (210)207-5779. It's available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Q: Can people in Bexar County still go fishing?

A: Yes. 

Q: Can leasing offices at apartment complexes stay open?

A: It's up to the leasing office on how they intend to operate, but they are not required to close. But they must practice proper social distancing. 

Q: In regards to child custody, can people still leave the house to travel to the airport or travel to another house to pick up a child as part of a custody agreement?

A: Yes. If you are under a court order, you are subject to that court order, barring any other stipulations. 

Q: What is the punishment for not complying with the stay home, work safe order?

A: A fine could be imposed if someone does not voluntarily come into compliance. 

Q: Does this order apply to state or federal employees?

A: No. There is a governmental services exemption. And military personnel fall under that as well. 

Q: Can people still congregate at city and county parks to play basketball, tennis and other sports?

A: You must exercise social distancing. 

Q: When does the order expire?

A: Right now, both the city and county's orders expire at 11:59 p.m. on April 9.

Q:  What kinds of things are closed?

A: Generally, it's going to be personal-care businesses. Businesses that require close interaction. Retail stores and specialty clothing stores, as well. The general idea is for residents to stay home as much as possible. 

Q: What about telecom and cable technicians? Can they still provide services at individual homes?

A: Yes. They provide important services. 

Q: Are engineering and architectural firms considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes. They support the construction of residential homes, which is specifically mentioned in the order. 

Q: What city and county services are still running?

A: Most of the basic services the community provides are continuing. Trash collection, recycling collection, construction and development, law enforcement, etc. 

Q: Can I foster a pet?

A: Yes. And the local animal shelter continues to operate. 

Q: Are laundromats considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes.

Q: Will Haven for Hope remain open?

A: Yes.

Q: I frequently go to my daughter's house for dinner. Can I continue to do that?

A: Families are encouraged to continue interaction, so long as they keep gatherings small. It's the big barbecues and the big birthday celebrations that are discouraged. 

Q: I have parents in a nursing home. Can I go visit them?

A: Those are vulnerable populations. Keep in mind that when you leave your home, you take a risk not only for yourself but also for those you come into contact with. If you don't have to visit, don't visit. 

Q: Can I still provide Airbnb service? Can I rent my home out?

A: Yes. You are providing a service. Make sure to practice safe social distancing. 

Q: Are physical speech and occupational therapy clinics considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: Yes. 

Q: Can I take part in door-to-door solicitations for sales?

A: No. There's too much person-to-person contact. 

Q: Will the city's and county's parks and trails system remain open?

A: Yes. 

Q: Are worship facilities considered exempt and allowed to remain open?

A: In-person services are largely prohibited, with online and live-streaming options strongly encouraged. 

Q: I live in Bexar County but work outside the county. How does my situation apply?

A: Whatever county you find yourself in any given moment, you must follow that county's rules. 

Q: What does social distancing mean?

A: Stay six feet or more apart from most people. Don't engage in or organize large social gatherings. Wash your hands often, with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds. Don't touch your nose, mouth or general face area. 

Q: When we go outside, should we wear masks?

A: It's not necessary unless you are already ill. The city already has limited medical supplies. 

Q: Should people avoid shopping for groceries in large groups?

A: Yes. You are encouraged to send just one member of your family to shop for necessities. 

Q: How long are schools closed?

A: That is a district-by-district decision. (Here are the districts that have announced extensions to their ongoing school closures.)

Q: Is there a curfew in place under this order?

A: No, this is technically not a curfew. This is encouraging people to be smart, to stay home and to work safely.

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