Bryan City Council voted Tuesday to extend the city’s declaration of disaster, which went into effect last week. 

Mayor Andrew Nelson issued a declaration March 17 so the city could seek state and federal assistance in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuesday’s council decision is required by state law, since the mayoral declaration can only last one week before it needs the council’s consent to continue. The declaration is now in place until the council votes to terminate it. 

While a March 18 amendment to the declaration ordered bar and restaurant dining rooms to close and said that gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer, Deputy City Manager Hugh Walker said Brazos County’s two-week long shelter-in-place order that went into effect Tuesday night is the higher authority for now.

The shelter-in-place order states that “All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a household or living unit are prohibited,” but the eight-page document outlines exceptions that are permitted. The order can be found at brazoscountytx.gov

Council members also approved an increase in the city manager’s spending authority from $50,000 to $100,000. The change is in place as long as the declaration of disaster is, but Walker said the increase has been something the city was considering before the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the action enables the city to “react quicker to purchases that can and should be made more expeditiously.”  

Walker said the change is temporary for now but likely will be considered for implementation again after the declaration of disaster is revoked by council. 

The City of Bryan also closed Lake Bryan and the Bryan-College Station Public Library System at 5 p.m. Tuesday to abide by the shelter-in-place order. The library system extended due dates on library card registrations until the end of April, and any item currently checked out is extended through April 14. There are still online resources such as digital books, magazines and audiobooks available to residents. 

The city asks that residents do not return books until the library reopens. Library resources can be found on BCSLibrary.org and the system’s social media pages. 

A list of closures in Bryan can be found at bryantx.gov/coronavirus. College Station closures are listed at cstx.gov/covid19.

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