Tyler mayor insists that residents stay home, request is optional


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Tyler Mayor Martin Heines requested on Wednesday afternoon that residents stay home, if possible, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“What I am requesting, this is a request… shelter-at-home, please stay at home. Let’s not have social hour. Let’s practice what we know.”

Mayor Martin Heines

This is not a mandatory stay-at-home order that has been seen across many major Texas cities such as Austin or Dallas, but Heines was insistent that at bare minimum to continue practicing social distancing.

Tyler is the biggest population center of East Texas and contains nearly half the population of Smith County, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Smith has been the hardest hit East Texas County with 16 cases of coronavirus. On Wednesday, it was announced at the same press conference that a 91-year-old man had died from the virus. He was the first East Texas victim from COVID-19.

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said on Monday that he had no plans to issue a mandatory, county-wide order and would only consider it as a “last resort.”

Currently throughout Texas, there are more than 1,000 confirmed cases. President Trump granted Gov. Abbott’s request for a federal disaster declaration on Wednesday.

The declaration allows for more federal funding to assist the state for rising costs. The primary need listed by Abbott was medical beds and protective equipment for doctors and nurses.

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