EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Wednesday announced a curfew for the Christmas and New Year's holiday periods out of concern over the coronavirus.
That curfew will run from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly from Dec. 23 to 26 and again from Dec. 30 to Jan. 4.
El Pasoans going to work, to the store for essential items or to seek medical care will be exempt from the curfew, which primarily targets social gatherings.
"We're going to be extremely focused on bad actors," the judge said of curfew enforcement plans.
The new curfew is similar to one the judge imposed during the Thanksgiving period.
Following Thanksgiving, El Paso did not experience the type of spike it had seen in virus cases after holidays over the summer. The judge said he believed the Thanksgiving curfew played a role in avoiding a post-holiday virus surge.
"We're not out of the woods yet," the judge emphasized as he was flanked by healthcare workers showing support for his curfew order, noting that currently 24% of all hospitalizations locally are the result of the virus.
He also said the county morgue was currently holding 295 bodies, most of those Covid-19 victims, because of backlogs at funeral homes stemming from El Paso's virus death toll.
You can view the judge's entire remarks from the courthouse in the video player below.