WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — On Friday, April 3, Williamson County officials announced eight new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 71 cases.

On Saturday, March 28, the Williamson County and Cities Health District confirmed the county's first coronavirus (COVID-19) death, a man in his 70s.

"To the family, we are heartbroken for your loss,” said Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell. “To the rest of the community, I emphasize that it is everyone’s responsibility to stay home and stay safe in order to protect our community, our families, and especially the most vulnerable among us.”

Investigations conducted by the Williamson County and Cities Health District will identify potential contacts exposed to the virus and provide close contacts with guidance, as well as monitor them for the development of symptoms.

For more information about these cases, including age ranges and locations, click here.

“We have prepared for the fact that more confirmed cases would come to Williamson County, so we are ready. We will continue our essential operations and serving the residents of Williamson County while adhering to more stringent social distancing policies. Technology is being utilized to a greater extent in order to fulfill our daily tasks under the new criteria,” said County Judge Bill Gravell. “We continue to ask everyone to follow the preventative measures and be prepared, not scared.”

Judge Gravell enacted two new orders in the county earlier this month.

The first order limits community gatherings in Williamson County to no more than 10 people. This order applies to churches, weddings, religious services, concerts, funerals, fundraisers and other such gatherings. 

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The second order mandates that all bars and restaurant dining rooms in Williamson County must close. Restaurants are encouraged to provide take-away and no-contact delivery services. 

Both orders will be in effect until May 11. However, a stay-at-home order was issued days later.

"Pray for us, trust us and respect these orders," Gravell said at a press conference.

Some business owners say they understand the concerns but are worried about their staff. 

“We do have a concern because there’s a lot of an older population in Georgetown," said Cody Hirt, a co-owner of Mesquite Creek Outfitters, a clothing store in Georgetown which also sells craft beer and wine. “We definitely have a concern for a hit on our business.”

Brad Strittmatter, the other co-owner, said they've never done curbside pick-up before, but will be doing so and delivering. 

“Our main goal is to keep our employees employed," said Strittmatter. “We can get through this and I think it’s gonna bring us together as a community.”

Up the street at Greenhouse Craft Food, General Manager and Executive Chef John Coronado was stacking up chairs and cleaning up the building before starting their temporary closure. 

“Never in my career have I ever had to let go, nearly 90% of my staff," said Coronado. “These are just business precautions that we have to do in order to save Greenhouse." 

Coronado also said that once the closures are over, he would hire back the employees. He said they do have another location in Round Rock, but that will be only doing take-out orders while the Georgetown location is closed until further notice. 

"I hope that somehow the world everybody can unite as one and we can come up with a good answer and a good solution to this issue that we’re having right now," said Coronado. “Please support them – we are in dire need right now."

The county said testing facilities in the county are increasing day by day. As of March 18, the county was aware of at least eight facilities that were providing testing, but that number will continue to increase. More information will be made available at wilco.org.

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