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El Paso county judge has ‘good’ discussion with governor’s office about reimposing curfew

EP County
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Smaniego during a news conference last year on Covid-19.

EL PASO, Texas -- The prospect for another curfew to be implemented is on the table after El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego had what he called a "good" discussion with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's chief of staff over the weekend about his request to impose one.

Samaniego has said he believes a curfew does not go against the governor's directives. The 8th Court of Appeals recently issued a temporary injunction against the the county judge's shutdown order which included a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., saying it went against directives from Abbott.

"This (new proposed) curfew is very different, because it doesn't interfere with any businesses essential or non-essential travel from these businesses after nine o'clock or after 10 o'clock," Samaniego said. "It's only for individuals that are doing recreational (things), are hanging out in the in the park."

Samaniego said the conversation also included a representative from the office of state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed a lawsuit along with some El Paso restaurants against the county judge for imposing the shutdown order in October.

"I just want to make sure that the businesses understand that we're not trying to in any way to interfere with their business," Samaniego said.

The judge's request to the governor came shortly after the Texas Division of Emergency Management sent 36 troops from the Texas National Guard to help the El Paso County Medical Examiner's Office with "mortuary support."

Samaniego praised the work they're doing to prevent a backlog at the county morgue as El Paso remains in a critical situation due to the pandemic.

As of Sunday, 254 bodies were being held at the county morgue which also includes all nine mobile morgues, according to the judge.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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Brianna Chavez


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