While Governor Greg Abbott’s new executive order will limit the capacity of businesses to 50 percent occupancy, Eastland County says it will not enforce those regulations.
“Eastland County shall not, in accordance with state and federal law, take any direct action against any businesses or individuals based solely on their actual or perceived business status,” reads the resolution, as published by Microplex News.
Under Abbott’s order, “essential businesses” as defined by the federal government are allowed to operate at maximum capacity.
The resolution states that Eastland County “considers all businesses essential.”
It also says that the commissioners’ court “supports opening all businesses without restrictions or limitations that would allow all businesses to fight for their very economic survival and livelihood.”
However, the district attorney reportedly emphasized that the resolution does not override Abbott’s order, meaning that state officials would still be allowed to enforce the restrictions.
State Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) was in attendance, along with the crowded room with constituents calling on the county officials to lead the charge in allowing businesses to reopen entirely.
“I’m apologizing for the governor for putting you and the citizens in this mess,” said Lang. “I shouldn’t have to apologize for the governor. We haven’t had a special session. The legislature should be making the decisions, not the governor by himself.”
Lang noted that Abbott has delegated the enforcement of his orders to local officials, and that the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has not arrested anyone and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) have not pulled any licenses for lockdown violations.
“The state has done nothing about enforcement,” said Lang. “Nothing. They have left it to the counties and the cities, and they’re on the hook for these things that are going on. They’re the ones that are in the news, not the state. Not DPS, not TDLR. Why? The governor doesn’t want that. So unfortunately, he’s kicked it down to the counties and kind of put it in their face where he shouldn’t have.”
Lang told the commissioners that if they took the lead in passing the resolution, he’d expect to see more counties follow suit.
According to Eastland County Today, the resolution was passed unanimously by the commissioners’ court.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.