TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran extended his stay-at-home order until April 30 in response to Gov. Abbott’s order from last week.
At a commissioner’s court meeting on Tuesday morning, Moran talked about how he has studied both his order and Gov. Abbott’s to make sure that the two do not conflict.
Moran issued his initial order back on March 27 and was set to expire Friday at 11:59 p.m.
The governor’s order, while he has resisted calling it a stay-at-home order, essentially tells all Texans to stay at home unless going to receive essential services. It also keeps all schools closed across the state until May 4.
In addition, not contained in the Governor’s order is the requirement of a person residing in Smith County who has tested positive or is awaiting results, then that person, plus other individuals living at the same address are ordered to isolate at home. These individuals are not permitted to go to work or any other community functions until they have been released by a medical doctor or their test returns a negative result if they are the ones being tested.
The locked business exception allows for certain businesses to continue to operate with 10 or fewer employees inside if they are able to close the business off from the public and practice social-distancing with employees and customers.
“Over the past week and a half, a number of businesses have expressed gratitude for the “Locked Business” provision in our local order, which was an intentional and reasoned approach to keep our community safe without unnecessarily harming the small ‘mom and pop’ stores. I don’t want that protection for those businesses to go away during the next three weeks, and I want them to know I believe that practice complies with the Governor’s directives at the state level,” said Judge Moran.
Moran said that churches that are having “parking lot services”, where people are in their cars or just outside their vehicles could continue.
He said that he chose to extend the order to the length of Abbott’s because he felt “there would be confusion” among residents and whether businesses could reopen.
Smith County by far leads East Texas in the number of COVID-19 cases with 79 as of Tuesday afternoon. There have also been two deaths in the county.