A virtual press conference was held by leaders in Hidalgo County to address new mandates and developments being implemented for the safety of the community amid COVID-19.
County Judge Ruben Cortez signed an order that would enact a curfew for county residents from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The order was prematurely released Sunday afternoon; however, the curfew will begin enforcement on Monday at 10 p.m.
At the panel, Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said law enforcement officials would be out in the community patrolling for those violating the order.
Guerra added that he has spoken to the municipalities and other law enforcement officials to let them know that first and foremost their goal is to educate the community. Guerra added they will be giving warning Monday night so that the community is educated and understands the importance of the order.
Guerra also said that if cited, residents could face up to $1,000 fine or 180 days in County Jail.
Those at the panel said it is important for the community to know the power they have in controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Officials advise that residents stay at home if there is no need to leave the residence.
Health officials say that multiple people have been tested and only two cases have been confirmed, however, they advise that in the coming days more cases will surface as tests are returned.
Officials say the public should not be alarmed when the numbers begin increasing, and that it is important for people to know that they must wait for this cycle of the virus to pass.
Staying home and out of public places is key to stop the spread. Officials added the curfew implemented is to minimize the number of people that can come in contact and a large number of people to gather.
Officials also added that the plans had already been discussed. They were then activated after the cases came back positive.
Health officials remind the community that if they have symptoms they should isolate, and if they don’t have symptoms, they should also take precautions and remain home as much as possible.
The disaster declaration, issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, gives the state and local officials the tools and resources they need to combat coronavirus.
On the same day, Gov. Abbott issued four executive orders. One of those orders requires all Texas schools, bars, gyms and restaurant dining rooms to temporarily close. This order is not a shelter in place, Abbott said.
“We as a country must swiftly elevate our response to COVID-19,” the governor said. “It is essential that all Americans comply with the CDC standards.”
The executive orders will begin on Friday, March 20, and end on April 3. Abbott said these dates are subject to change.