El Paso City Council approved extending the emergency ordinance another month on Monday.

The disaster declaration will now be in effect through July 8, unless terminated sooner by council. It had been set to expire June 10. Here's what you need to know about the extended orders:

1. Reaffirms local directive prohibiting gathering in a group larger than 10 people, including in an individual's residence, and keeps the mandatory face masks when out in public directive in place, as well.

2.The extension protects tenants from being evicted or their utilities shut off while declaration is in effect.

3. Prevents utilities such as electricity, internet, water, and gas service from being disconnected for non-payment.

4. Prohibits price gouging on certain goods such as groceries, toiletries, and medicine. A person cannot sell items listed in the Emergency Ordinance at a higher price than the person was charged as of March 13, 2020

Regarding utility bills, it's important to note any amount one is in arrears for will eventually have to be paid, and that once the ordinance has been lifted protection from disconnection will end.

Anyone having trouble meeting their obligations because of hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic should contact the utility company to learn about their options and/or work out payment arrangements. The sooner you do the better as some are willing to forego late fees. Below are numbers to call to speak to a rep:

• El Paso Electric - 1-800-592-1634 or (915) 543-5711
• El Paso Water - 915-594-5500
• Texas Gas Service - 800-700-2443
• AT&T and Spectrum - contact info on monthly statement

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