Local NewsHopkins County Allows Businesses with “Less Than 10 Employees” to Open by Appointment Only

The latest county to lift restrictions on businesses is Hopkins County, whose officials issued a new order that can apply to a variety of establishments.
April 28, 2020
First reported by the Sulphur Springs News-Telegram, on April 28 the Hopkins County Commissioners Court revised their disaster declaration to allow more businesses than are permitted by the governor’s new order to open for business on an appointment-only basis.

Businesses must have no more than 10 employees working at a time and keep their doors locked to the general public.

This provision is now in effect.

Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom told The Texan about the decision, “We are concerned about those living paycheck to paycheck and a lot of people need to go back to work.”

Abbott’s new statewide order allows some businesses to reopen at only 25 percent capacity starting on Friday — but gyms, salons, and barbershops are not among them. The governor said in the press conference that “This order supersedes all local orders.”

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The commissioners deliberated over the application of a certain section within the governor’s order. Specifically, whether service businesses such as gyms and salons in their rural area could resemble “services of an individual working alone in an office.” This subsection in the governor’s order permits such establishments to open up provided that proper social distancing practices are adhered to.

Being that their county is rural and sparsely populated, the commissioners contended that the conditions in bigger city establishments are not the same as they experience. As of 2019, Hopkins County had just over 37,000 residents.

Newsom added that he isn’t sure if the governor will see the Hopkins County order as in agreement or contradiction with his, but emphasized, “We’ve listed a number of requirements for these openings that are far stricter than what you see at Walmart.”

Hopkins County’s order does not specifically list the kinds of businesses this applies to, only provides the qualifier “locked businesses of less than 10 employees.”

It can apply to businesses such as salons and gyms but avoids explicitly naming them explicitly.

Businesses that meet these requirements can still choose to remain closed, but Newsom and his fellow commissioners decided to leave the decision to the businesses themselves.

Another provision of the governor’s order states that for any county with fewer than five coronavirus cases, their permitted businesses can operate at 50 percent capacity.

Hopkins County currently has four cases of coronavirus, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The rest of the county’s order mirrors the order made by Governor Abbott.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

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