Hidalgo County announced Thursday afternoon that the emergency order that has kept residents at home and impacted local businesses for the past 45 days to curb the spread of COVID-19 will expire.
The move follows Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order on Monday that set in motion the first phase of re-opening the Texas economy while nixing the stay-at-home order and only recommending that people wear masks.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said in a news release that his emergency order will expire at midnight.
“I’ve always considered public safety and economic consequences in deciding how best to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Cortez said in the release. “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.”
Those efforts mirror Abbott’s order. In the release, Cortez said retail stores, dine-in at restaurants, movie theaters and shopping malls can all operate at 25% capacity.
Elective medical and dental procedures are also allowed.
Cortez, however, is still recommending that residents stay at home and use facial coverings. This is voluntary, Cortez said in the release.
“We know what works,” Cortez said.
The judge also recommends avoiding crowds and using good hygiene.
“The impact of this pandemic will be felt for many years,” Cortez said in the 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.”