So what is COVID-19 Occupant Guidance and what does it mean to you?

Well, if you are a business owner opening your doors tomorrow morning in accordance with the "Re-Open Texas" order, you must comply with the 25% occupancy mandated reopening order. This means you need to know your business "occupancy load" and if you need guidance, the Victoria Fire Marshal's office is a good place to start.

Fire Marshal Tom Legler was kind enough to take time out of his morning today to offer business owners a helping hand before the Reopen Texas Order goes into effect at midnight tonight.  Fire Marshal Tom Legler offers, " COVID-19 Occupant Guidance" is our guidance for our community businesses to comply with the order to reopen with a specific 25% percent occupancy."

The COVID 19 Occupant Load Guidance is posted on the City of Victoria Operations of the Emergency Management page which is also posted on the City of Victoria OEM Facebook page here. You can click all blue links above for more information.

Not surprisingly, the most common question our fire marshal and the department is receiving is " What is our occupancy load?"

Fire Marshal Legler explains, " Because our city doesn't necessarily issue an occupant load certificate, businesses are turning to us to obtain one. We're having to inform them of their occupancy load spaces. Commonly, brass restaurants and nightclubs are issued these certificates and unless a business is a new construction or reconstruction, businesses that may have been turn-key might not have or know their occupancy load."

The Victoria Fire Marshal's office is working hard to make sure our community businesses have what they need to comply with the order. " Normally it would take a day or two turn around for businesses to receive their certificate but now it can take as little as a few minutes." Legler offers.

Due to the timeline of the order, the Victoria Fire Marshal's office is able to offer a guideline while the certificates process in order to better assist businesses who are willing to open Friday when the order goes into effect.

Fire Marshal Telger offers that you can also obtain your occupancy load through Victoria Development Services as well as the Fire Marshals office.

First things first, it's a good idea to have a rough estimate of your square footage. Here is a tip on how to obtain an estimate of the square footage of your business ceiling tiles. Marshal Legler says that you can use ceiling tiles as a rough estimate of your business square footage. " Most ceiling tiles are 2x2 or 2x4 and by calculating the area using ceiling tiles we can roughly estimate your occupancy load over the phone to get you started. " It may not be as accurate but it gives business owners something quick to use to comply with the order." Legler offers.

Another tip Marshal Tegler offered is as follows " You can also research your business square footage through the Victoria Central Appraisal District or Victoriacad.org." If you have questions you may also call the Victoria Fire Marshal's office at 361. 485.3460

" We do understand this a unique and confusing time, the process can be a challenge, we try to explain in our guidance letter, and not every business fits as every space as unique helping to get numbers. We need your cooperation to keep you safe and in compliance." - Fire Marchal Tom Legler

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