Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez revised his coronavirus order on Friday to reduce some of the county’s restrictions on residents’ movements, while leaving many requirements in place, such as a ban on gatherings of more than ten people without government approval and a 10:00 p.m. curfew. The revised order took effect on Monday.
Cortez had reinstated a “shelter-in-place” order in July that disallowed anyone from leaving their homes unless under circumstances approved by the county judge in his order.
The revised order still bans minors from leaving their homes without a parent or guardian unless in an emergency or to provide “essential services.” Adults are required to abide by a curfew of 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. with limited exceptions.
The document also reiterates face covering and social distancing requirements and limits businesses to 50 percent of their operating capacity. Businesses that receive more than half of their revenue from alcohol are not allowed to open except for take-out or delivery.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 14,211 people have died in Texas due to the coronavirus. Hidalgo County says 1,431 of its residents have died with COVID-19.
Meanwhile, lockdown measures are facing significant controversy and challenges in federal jurisprudence.
On Monday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the state’s governor, Tom Wolf, violated the U.S. Constitution with bans on certain gatherings and other restrictions.
U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV said that while Wolf had the “good intention” of protecting the public from COVID-19, the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are not nullified in an emergency.
“The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms–in place when times are good but able to be cast aside in times of trouble,” Stickman wrote.
“The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal’ where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures. Rather, the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency.”
Below is the new Hidalgo County order.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.