The counties of Hidalgo and Starr have began the process of reopening businesses tomorrow.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez announced Thursday the county’s disaster declaration that was issued last month will expire as scheduled at midnight.
This commences the process of easing restrictions and placing the county on a cautious path toward reopening local businesses and reviving the local economy in accordance with Executive Order GA-18 issued by Governor Greg Abbott on Monday.
“The impact of this pandemic will be felt for many years,” Judge Cortez said in a news release. “My objective is to put this county on the path to economic vibrancy while being vigilant to the potential of secondary waves of infection from this virus.”
As part of an amended emergency order that was issued Thursday, Judge Cortez has ordered the opening of retail stores that operate at no more than a 25 percent capacity, the opening of dine-in services at restaurants, movie theaters and shoppings malls at no more than 25 percent capacity.
Elective medical and dental procedures will also also be allowed in the order.
“I’ve always considered public safety and economic consequences in deciding how best to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Judge Cortez said. “While I believe the two can go hand-in-hand, Governor Abbott’s move to restore economic activity allows us to do so with a gradual easing of these mitigation efforts.”
Even with the easing o several restrictions, Cortez still urged residents to follow safety guidelines such as continuing to shelter at home and use facial coverings.
“We know what works,” Judge Cortez said, adding that avoiding crowds, using facial covering and practicing good hygiene have all contributed to slowing the spread COVID-19.
Starr County Judge Eloy Vera issued a statement on Facebook advising residents to continue practicing social distancing, washing and sanitizing hands, staying at home and wearing face coverings in public.
“COVID-19 remains a threat to the health and lives of all our residents,” the post stated. “We strongly urge businesses that are open to require the use of face coverings in order to enter your businesses.”