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El Paso issues stay-at-home order due to virus: Find out the exceptions, get hotline number for questions

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego and Dr. Hector Ocaranza of the Health Authority announced a stay-at-home order for El Pasoans in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

That order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and directs everyone in El Paso City and County to stay at their homes except for essential activities or to go to work for essential businesses and government agencies. All non-essential businesses must close.

"It is a necessary step we need to take to protect the community," Ocaranza explained at a news conference. "We cannot afford to overwhelm our health services." El Paso had 12 confirmed cases as of Tuesday night, not including four additional cases reported at Fort Bliss.

Violators of the stay-at-home order may face misdemeanor charges with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to a 180-day jail sentence. Non-compliance with the order can be reported by calling 3-1-1, officials said.

However, "this is not martial law, this is not checkpoint charlie," Margo noted. Exceptions to the order include traveling to grocery stores, restaurants for take-out, pharmacies and banks and financial institutions.

Ocaranza added that hiking and outdoor activities with correct social distancing would still be permitted.

Margo said he hoped the unprecedented order, which is in effect until further notice, would only be needed for up to a month. He added that he and the other leaders didn't "take this decision lightly."

You can read the entire order below...

Margo also indicated that the mayor of Ciudad Juarez had implemented similar restrictions as El Paso in the Chihuahuan border city.

Meantime, the El Paso Department of Public Health announced a new hotline to field virus questions: (915) 212-6843 or (915) 21-COVID.

The hotline will take calls from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

The city said the new system would allow the 2-1-1 call center to now focus on referrals to services for those impacted by business closures and unemployment.

“This new hotline will be focused on answering questions about the disease itself and critical information regarding the COVID-19 impact to the members of our community,” said Ruth Castillo, the health department preparedness manager.

The hotline is being staffed locally and call takers will have up-to-date information for El Paso, Castillo explained, adding that callers will be able to speak with someone in either English or Spanish.

Coronavirus / Coronavirus Video / Health / News / Top Stories / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Comments

26 Comments

  1. “Violators of the stay-at-home order may face misdemeanor charges with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to a 180-day jail sentence” shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  2. Well this is sure to cause a fresh round of panic, stampeding the sheep yet again. Think items were hard to find in stores before? Hah! Just wait. And oh yeah, the stated threat of penalties for violators sure sounds pretty darn close to martial law to me.

  3. Posted in the other article.

    El Paso city “government” can GTFO of here with their “orders”.

    If I want to go somewhere, I’m going.

    See you in court.

    1. You’ll lose like others have. But I appreciate you filling the city/county coffers as their speed traps have got to be yielding a lot less in bogus tickets lately.

  4. No martial law has been declared I’ll go wherever the hell I want to the mayor just turn the city and do a truckstop which is what it’s always been

  5. I am a senior and I have to stand in line to buy groceries and they don’t separate people at Walmart or any other grocery store. This doesn’t make sense what the mayor said. And he expects me to sanitize my home? How? I cannot find any cleaning supplies! Or even to clean my hands when I am out and about because there is no sanitizer anywhere. How can I make my own sanitizer when I cant even find alcohol or aloe vera gel?

  6. So how are they going to decide on who violated the order and who is doing their grocery shopping, picking up food, going to the doctor, or checking on the elderly family members? This what I am confused about. Because they say that you leave your home for the grocery shop, doctor, pick up food from the restaurant, but then they say that people will be violated if the order is broke.

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