Opening today with retail-to-go; Social distancing remains in effect

MGN Online

RAYMONDVILLE — It’s not business as usual — but it’s a start.

Across Texas today, businesses are partially opening as part of the first step of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to lift the economic shutdown stemming from federal guidelines and state and local orders aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier this week, County Judge Aurelio Guerra followed Abbott’s lead, issuing an order allowing businesses to offer “retail-to-go,” giving them the right to sell their merchandise via pick-up, delivery, on-line and phone orders.

Like Abbott’s order, Guerra’s mandate doesn’t allow customers to enter businesses.

“ It’s going to help some,” Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said Thursday, referring to the county’s businesses. “Everybody and anybody is suffering right now.”

Under the order, residents are required to continue to comply with social distancing guidelines while limiting group gatherings to 10 as part of the campaign aimed at preventing the virus’ spread.

“ It’s quite important as long as we follow our COVID-19 guidelines and procedures,” David Correa, coordinator of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said, referring to the retail-to-go plan.

As part of the Guerra’s order, Raymondville’s two car wash businesses opened Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the county’s boat ramps are opening today.

Virus concerns

Amid the statewide economic jump-start, Gonzales warned the county’s coronavirus cases could spike if residents fail to comply with social distancing guidelines and group gathering restrictions.

As of Thursday, the state health department had confirmed 10 COVID-19 cases in this sparsely populated rural county of about 22,000 residents.

“ A lot of people think it’s too early to open (businesses) because they don’t want to get sick,” Gonzales said.

“ We just have to live with it and hope for the best,” he said, referring to Abbott’s retail-to-go plan.

Shelter-in-place extended

On Wednesday, Guerra issued the order allowing businesses to begin offering retail-to-go today.

As part of the directive, Guerra extended the county’s shelter-in-place order through May 4, mandating residents without justifiable excuses stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.

The order also mandates residents continue to comply with social distancing guidelines while limited group gatherings to 10.

Meanwhile, the order mandates residents continue to wear facial coverings.

Violators face fines of as much as $1,000 per violation and penalties of up to 180 days in jail.

Abbott’s order

On April 17, Abbott issued the order aimed at paving the way for the opening of the state’s economy.

“ Texans are battling a colossal challenge — an invisible enemy that has tested our lives and our livelihoods — but overcoming challenges is part of who we are as Texans,” Abbott stated, stressing social distancing guidelines apply to his retail-to-go plan.

fdelvalle@valleystar.com