The Van Alstyne City Council voted Tuesday to extend the city’s disaster declaration through at least April 14.


The resolution authorizes the city to take actions necessary to promote health and suppress the coronavirus.


Those actions could include quarantining people, placing limits on movement in or out of the city and taking steps to ensure compliance.


Gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be banned. Those who violate the ordinance face fines of up to $1,000.


While no cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Val Alstyne through the first part of the week, the effects of coronavirus could be felt all over the city as businesses adjusted their schedules and residents modified their work routines.


On Monday, City Manager Lane Jones posted a message advising residents to take the situation seriously in order to make a meaningful impact.


“This is not a time to be selfish, this is a time to be helpful, caring and seek ways to show others why Van Alstyne is such a great place to live,” Jones said. “We are one team and with everyone pulling together we can make a difference in the fight against COVID-19.”


He also announced an initiative to place signs, posters and banners across the city encouraging residents to “live local and shop local." He hoped this would help people keep local business in mind.


“If we all pull together, we will go through this and be stronger as a result,” he said.


The past week saw the first two reported cases in Grayson County, both in Denison.


Van Alstyne ISD initially planned to announce school closures on a week-by-week basis. However, Gov. Greg Abbott’s March 19 executive order closed schools statewide until at least April 3.


In response, the district rolled out E-learning on Monday.


Van Alstyne ISD Superintendent David Brown thanked families for their patience and praised teachers and administrators for making a seamless transition to the new system.


“During these uncharted times, we are excited to provide each of you with as much support as possible as we educate our kids together,” Brown said. “The Van Alstyne community is strong, and we will overcome these obstacles together. I look forward to this journey together.”


Of course not everyone is interested in joining together in the best interests of the community.


For those looking to take advantage of the situation, Grayson County D.A. Brett Smith took to social media Monday to remind the community that certain crimes like assault, arson, robbery, burglary, criminal trespass and theft carry additional penalties during times of disaster.


Those enhanced penalties include both increasing a charge's degree of severity and additional jail or prison time.


“Be assured that the Grayson County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and our local law enforcement partners are committed to seeking, when appropriate, enhanced punishment of crimes committed during this pending disaster declaration,” Smith said. “We will not tolerate criminals taking advantage of others in a time when our local community is banding together.”