SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Smith County officials are warning local businesses to comply with the Stay at Home order for the sake of public safety.
County Judge Nathan Moran originally issued the order March 27, followed up by clarifications issued March 31 and April 3.
On April 3, Moran “issued specific written guidelines to non-grocery retailers setting out acceptable practices to comply with the governor’s order and the Smith County local order,” according to a statement from the county.
“Judge Moran made clear in his written guidelines to these non-grocery retailers that further and stronger enforcement action would be forthcoming if compliance did not occur,” the statement said.
Smith County officials have been working with local businesses this week to clarify application of the terms of Moran’s order.
Under the order, essential businesses that are allowed to continue to operate still must practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness and sanitation, implement social distancing, and work from home if possible, according to the governor’s order.
“Although I anticipated that there would be a need to educate businesses about the terms of our local order, I have been surprised at the continued resistance of some retailers, especially national chain retailers – to comply with my order and that of the governor,” Moran said. “Our efforts to enforce compliance continue and will grow stronger if those businesses do not do the right thing by the community by complying with these orders.”
Moran said his office, along with the Smith County District Attorney’s Office, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Tyler, has contacted several businesses in the county “in a coordinated effort to educate those businesses on the terms of the governing orders and to ensure compliance. Those efforts continue.”
Moran’s guidelines specifically instructed retailers designated as “essential businesses” to:
- limit access to the inside of any facility open to the public to no more than 100 persons or half of the permitted occupancy (including employees), whichever is less;
- take affirmative steps to ensure that any customer waiting in a queue, either inside or outside of the physical retail store location, does not violate the social distancing guidelines set forth by the CDC.
To make a complaint about a business, call the non-emergency local law enforcement agency for that area. For the city of Tyler, call 903-531-1000. For Smith County, call 903-566-6600. Complainants can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judge Moran reminded the public that the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19, is to avoid going to any location where a large number of other members of the public will be, and to continue practicing the health and safety guidelines of the CDC by limiting in-person contact, washing your hands frequently, and keeping at least six feet away from others.