EP County Judge Planning On Extending Shutdown Order Due To Deaths
The numbers in El Paso County are skyrocketing and there is seemingly no end in sight. Two weeks ago, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego put a shutdown and stay at home order in place that was widely not followed by restaurants and retail outlets, or for that matter by El Paso citizens either. There was a court battle between Samaniego, a number of El Paso restaurants, and the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton over the order. The group said that the order overturned Texas Governor Greg Abbott's order and was illegal. The El Paso Police Department weighed in saying that they wouldn't enforce the order, but the El Paso County Sheriff's Department and the Constables said they would and they did. There were a number of restaurants that were cited for not following Samaniego's order and a couple even had their licenses suspended for a time.
Last week, the lawsuit brought by the restaurant owners and the Attorney General was heard by a state judge who said the order was legal and that it needed to be enforced. The EPPD said they would begin enforcing it after the Friday decision by the judge, and more restaurants were cited for not following the order.
Over the weekend, the County Judge spoke to the local Fox News affiliate and said because the COVID-19 numbers are not slowing down, he is looking at extending his order. Monday's numbers from the El Paso Department of Public Health included seven new coronavirus-related deaths and 899 new cases. That shocking number seems low because we've been seeing numbers in the thousands of new cases and double digit deaths have been reported recently. Samaniego said over the next two to three weeks, we might be seeing 20 deaths a day reported.
The Texas Attorney General has filed an appeal to the judge's Friday decision, but if that doesn't happen, it's entirely like we could see further restrictions put into place by Samaniego. You should probably be prepared for them. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Let's do what we have to to get through this mess.