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Coronavirus

El Paso County Judge orders 2-week shutdown of all non-essential businesses due to virus surge

EL PASO, Texas — El Paso County's top elected official ordered a two-week shutdown of non-essential activities as of midnight Thursday after the area's hospitals and medical resources were overwhelmed by coronavirus illness.

County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced the measure during a news conference Thursday evening. Among the non-essential services ordered to be closed, effective at midnight Thursday, are tattoo, hair and nail salons, as well as gyms and in-person dining. He also appealed to residents to avoid all non-essential activities. Grocery and drug stores, funeral homes, health care services and government activities were among the activities deemed essential.

Samaniego said all election-related activities, including campaigns and voting, also were deemed essential activities.

“Our hospitals are at capacity, our medical professionals are overwhelmed, and if we don’t respond we will see unprecedented levels of death,” said Samaniego.

Local hospitals announced earlier this week they were asking some patients with illnesses other than Covid-19 to be airlifted to other medical centers to free up bed space.

Samaniego assured that county officials “have done everything possible” to avoid shutting down the county's economy.

“We need to build capacity for hospitals, build capacity, to shore up contact tracing and identify hot spots,” he said.

Samaniego said conversations with Gov. Greg Abbott for support “were not fruitful." Had that support been forthcoming several weeks ago, this shutdown might not have been needed, Samaniego said.

On Sunday night, Samaniego had ordered a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Violators could be fined $500 under the order, but the curfew did not apply to people who are going to or from work or out for essential services, including grocery stores and healthcare.

Yet each day for the past week, more than 1,000 new cases were confirmed in El Paso County. Also, persons with other health problems have chosen not to seek hospital treatment because they believed they would be turned away because of the Covid-19 crush, he said.

“The hard truth is that the persons who are dying are El Pasoans. They’re not in Austin and I have the responsibility to do everything I can,” Samaniego said.

The move comes after Abbott’s statewide executive order recently allowed some non-essential businesses to reopen to 75% capacity.

Messages to Abbott's office about the judge's action were not immediately returned, however the state attorney general tweeted his view that the county's action was in violation of the governor's order.

El Paso officials reported two new Covid-19 deaths Thursday, bringing the total deaths to 585, and 1,128 new positive tests, bringing the total active cases to more than 14,000.

Read the full text of the Judge's order

Effective at midnight Thursday, El Paso Judge Ricardo Samaniego is ordering a shutdown of all non-essential services for a two-week period.
 
·       For the duration of this order, all individuals living within the County of El Paso are ordered to temporarily stay at home or at their place of residence unless they are working in an essential job or accessing essential services.
 
·       All businesses that are non-essential must close:
o   Tattoo Parlors
o   Hair Salons
o   Nail Salons
o   Gyms
o   Massage businesses
o   In-person dining
 
Retail- and food-to-go is still permitted.
 
·       All essential businesses remain open:
o   Polling Sites*
o   Schools that provide meal services
o   Childcare facilities
o   Grocery stores
o   Funeral services
o   All healthcare offices and facilities
o   Pharmacies
o   Government operations
o   Post offices
o   And others listed in Order
 
·       *Election Activities are essential services and not affected by this Order
o   Election activities shall be considered an essential function and under no circumstances does this Order affect the voting or campaigning for candidates on the November 3, 2020 ballot.
o   Election activities shall continue to follow Public Health Authority Orders and Guidelines relating to election activities.
o   The public should be assured that election activities are safe and significant steps have been taken to provide a sanitary environment as well as follow all appropriate social distancing and face covering measures.
o   ALL POLLING SITES SHALL REMAIN OPEN to continue election activities.

Watch the Judge's entire news conference

Key slides from the Judge's presentation

Biz/Tech / Coronavirus Video / El Paso / Health / News / Top Stories / Video

KVIA ABC-7

Associated Press

Texas Tribune

Comments

63 Comments

  1. The way these would-be dictators run El Paso, reminds me of a Home Owner’s Association. Petty little people get a little power and it goes right to their heads.

  2. This old bag of bones judge with a lot of money and a salary that pays while not working doesn’t care about anyone. He only cares about his power over the people of EP that have been beaten down to the point of having to resort to handouts and government scraps. What a pitiful display!

  3. If your leader, the orange buffoon, had done his job after being briefed by the US Intelligence agencies back in January, we wouldn’t be here now. Put the blame where it belongs.

  4. So is this fool of a so called judge elected? Time for him to retire or just be voted out of office. What a damn fool he is. Reminds me of comadre turner the idiot never nothing.

  5. This fool looks like he is puckering up to kiss demoKKKrats asses. Someone should tell him El Paso is a RED city. Not blue shit. The people will speak on voting day.

          1. And Harris, Travis, Bexar, Hays, Comal, Dallas, Jefferson, Hidalgo, Cameron, Val Verde, Nueces, and Webb counties.

    1. It’s the changes to the biz owners/employees and to the city, county and state revenue. Those revenues are what pay bills, schools, social help programs etc. Making an order like this devastating. No one is stupid enough to believe after almost a year of this BS 2 weeks is going to change anything.

      Of course it doesn’t affect us if we aren’t the employees or owners. And no, the stay home order is not enforceable.

      1. No one should be doing anything that would favor the orange buffoon. Favor him by letting him go to commissary once a week on the prison unit the piece of trash lands in.

      1. No fool those are Mexican citizens taken spots of American citizens. Dont talk about be like you know ignorant ass. How about how many of those peoplenthat makes the stats of elnpaso look bad. How dumb are because it sounds like you are real dumb

        1. IlliterateJason, why don’t you keep your nose where you are from? We don’t need another Trumptard here in El Paso. It’s very clear that you are a complete moron. Did you even graduate high school? I don’t you even know how to read.

          1. Dip shit you understand exactly what I said. These isn’t about trump dumbass its about the American people. I guess you are dumb af.

  6. JamesBenvie, you know everything that goes on at the bridges. Again, our streets are not safer because of your border wall, nor you and your civilian redneck friends “guarding” the border. You are beyond pathetic and it makes perfect sense you support a creep like Trump.

  7. He’s at it again. Can someone tell me please where samaniego gets his “Power” to do things like this and impose his will? Under what authority is he operating and from where is that authority derived? I don’t understand. How is it that a mere judge has (Seemingly) more power than the mayor?

    1. He’s a Judge in title. Not a court Judge. In Tejas the top executive of the county gets the title Judge. In Utah and I believe Fla they’re called County Mayor. I’m not sure the city Mayor could stop an order like this but Samaniego absolutely can not defy State orders. He really over-stepped here but he knew that. I know Rep Escobar is very left but she needs to set a better example and not allow/support this type of illegal orders.

  8. None of these comments have anything to do with the judge’s order. We need to understand that he’s doing this for no other reason than public safety.

    1. Abbott needs to tell idiot Paxton to sit down somewhere and shut up, and then he and the judge need to confer and come up with a solution that goes by the science and is in support of the public’s health.

  9. All of you small businessmen, restaurant employees and voters, remember this on November 3rd. If you vote for any local democrat, you voted for your own unemployment!

  10. The Racist Retard All Stars are at it again! Bitching and moaning because their wives can’t go get their hair and nails done. And they can’t go stuff their pie holes in some elegant little restaurant in the West side. They have had their panties in a bunch since the Pandemic started and crying every day that their *rights* are being violated. How about the rights of the Doctors, Nurses, and every single healthcare worker who feels like any day now they could be infected by people who are worried about their *Constitutional* rights. Stop listening to your fake president who has insisted from the beginning that this is all a Fake Pandemic fabricated to bring him down. This Imbecile, Sex Fiend never needed a Pandemic to bring him down, he does just fine on his own. BIDEN/HARRIS!!

    1. THIS IS WHY OUR HOSPITALS ARE FULL:

      Whistleblower says El Paso ambulances picking up COVID-19 patients from Juarez

      As emergency responders are being recognized across the nation, El Paso’s first responders may be facing more danger from COVID-19 than anyone else.

      El Paso firefighters in the trenches of the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot talk on the record about the number of people they are picking up every day from El Paso’s international bridges. “There’s somedays where it’s only three or four times and other days when it will be 13 or 14 responses. You’ll be there for one patient and [CBP] customs will let you know, hey there’s another one right behind them and another one sometime there are four or five waiting in line,” said the anonymous source.

      As a result of what appear to be escalating ambulance responses at the international bridges by the El Paso Fire Department, KFOX14’s source insists the city of El Paso is being left in a dangerously vulnerable position.

      1. KFOX a subsidiary of Fox News tows the Trump line 99 percent of the time. Skewed reporting at it’s best to make Daddy Trump happy. Try mentioning other news sites that aren’t falling all over themselves to kiss Trump’s Ass.

        1. Just like Gulag Gulliiani’s Hunter laptop which was found abandoned in some repair shop. Trump’s Suckers are coming up with all types of far fetched conspiracy theories to try to change the polls in The Pussygrabber’s favor.

  11. Paxton wants to pick a fight with Judge Samaniego? He better save his strength to defend himself against all the corruption he is accused of by his own staff at the Texas AG’s office.

  12. THIS IS WHY OUR HOSPITALS ARE FULL:

    Whistleblower says El Paso ambulances picking up COVID-19 patients from Juarez

    As emergency responders are being recognized across the nation, El Paso’s first responders may be facing more danger from COVID-19 than anyone else.

    El Paso firefighters in the trenches of the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot talk on the record about the number of people they are picking up every day from El Paso’s international bridges. “There’s somedays where it’s only three or four times and other days when it will be 13 or 14 responses. You’ll be there for one patient and [CBP] customs will let you know, hey there’s another one right behind them and another one sometime there are four or five waiting in line,” said the anonymous source.

    As a result of what appear to be escalating ambulance responses at the international bridges by the El Paso Fire Department, KFOX14’s source insists the city of El Paso is being left in a dangerously vulnerable position.

    1. Fox News propaganda much? Stop looking at sites that blame Mexico for Trump’s mess that he has us all in. If your *news* had any merit they would have been reported by every news outlet in America by now. Don’t try to sound like you are reporting breaking news. It’s all Bullshit meant to discredit our Mayor and Judge samaniego. BIDEN/HARRIS!!

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