For the most part, people seem to be abiding by the county-wide order to stay at home and not gather in groups of more than 10, mayors say.

But when mayors and city officials get reports of violators, they’re sending law enforcement to scatter crowds as they work to reduce the spread of coronavirus, they said.

Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough in the past few days has received a smattering of calls or messages about groups of 10 people or more gathering, he said.

Tuesday night, he received a text about young people going to Stewart Beach, he said.

“We’re definitely responding,” Yarbrough said. “Sometimes, by the time we respond, they’re gone.”

Yarbrough wishes young people would understand they can catch and transmit the virus the same as anyone else, he said.

Cities around the county, including Galveston, will send police officers or other authorities to ask people congregating in large groups to disperse, officials said.

Officers in La Marque aren’t being sent out specifically to look for large groups, Mayor Bobby Hocking said.

People seem to be abiding by the rules, Hocking said.

“As I ride around town, not getting out of my truck, it looks pretty calm,” Hocking said.

It doesn’t surprise Texas City Mayor Matt Doyle that residents in his city are adhering to social distancing orders, he said.

“Texas City is a pretty tight-knit community,” Doyle said, adding that he hasn’t been getting calls about large groups.

Neighbors might be policing each other as well, Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters said. Masters hasn’t heard about people violating the orders, she said.

Although there might be some people who think the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis is hype, people in Santa Fe haven’t been defying the county orders, Mayor Jason Tabor said.

Hitchcock Mayor Randy Stricklind hasn’t been getting calls about large groups, but there could be fines if people disobey the rules, he said.

People should abide by the rules to avoid others for now, Stricklind said.

“It’s kind of like a fire,” Stricklind said. “If you take fuel away, it kind of dies down and goes away.”

League City has imposed fines, Mayor Pat Hallisey said.

The League City Council agreed Tuesday that anyone who gathered in groups of 10 or more people could be fined up to $2,000.

“Our intent was not to go write tickets,” Hallisey said. “It was to at least have something on our books.”

Hallisey hadn’t received a slew of calls but wants to make sure the city has a tool to use if it needs one, he said.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.


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