The city of Rosenberg has extended its declaration of disaster for at least two more weeks.

At the regular Rosenberg City Council meeting Tuesday, council members unanimously voted to extend the disaster declaration issued by Mayor Bill Benton on March 18 in response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Although Benton last week amended the city’s disaster declaration to enforce social distancing, council agreed to rescind that part of the declaration. Under the March 18 disaster declaration, social distancing was encouraged but not enforced before Benton’s amendment prompted by activities violating the recommendation.

“I think it’s too restrictive on our citizens,” council member Richard Olson said Tuesday.

“Enforcing social distancing is almost unenforceable and too restrictive.”

Police Chief Jonathan White said the citizens are doing a good job of policing themselves.

“It would be a complaint-driven law,” White responded. “And we have not gotten any complaints on this.”

Council members Tim Anders, Isaac Davila and Jacob Balderas agreed that the social distancing mandate was too intrusive on the citizens.

“The biggest issue I have with the order is it’s a Class B Misdemeanor,” Balderas said.

“Someone can be arrested and thrown in jail for stepping too close to somebody. I think if we go down this rabbit hole, we end up in martial law really quickly.”

Council member Kevin Raines disagreed.

“We are at war with a bad, bad disease,” Raines reminded council.

“We got to use common sense during war time. I’m in favor of extending the declaration until May 1. That way we’re being cautious.”

However, Benton and Raines were outnumbered and Benton rescinded his social distancing mandate.

Davila then made a motion to extend the disaster declaration until April 21 at 11:59 p.m.

The motion was seconded by Olson and passed unanimously.

The next regular Rosenberg City Council meeting will be held April 21.

Citizens will not be allowed to attend council meetings, but can still ask questions via letters, telephone or email.

Email comments to dswint@rosenbergtx.gov.

Meetings can be watched live on the city’s YouTube Channel “RosenbergTXGov,” on the city’s website at www.rosenbergtx.gov/tv, and on Comcast Channel 16 for residents within the city limits.

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