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Local compliance with state orders prevents confusion

Posted at 6:23 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 19:23:29-04

State Attorney General Ken Paxton recently sent letters to three of Texas's largest counties as well as the mayors of Austin and San Antonio, ordering them to get on the same page as the governor’s reopening plan.

While some parts of the state have kept various restrictions in place as Gov. Greg Abbott eases his, for the most part local leaders have complied with state guidance.

“I think that’s an important message you have, you’ve got the consistency because it affects the whole state,” said Mayor Joe McComb.

McComb believes it’s important to show a unified stance with the governor’s orders. The city did tighten restrictions on beaches and parks for easter weekend, but that’s been the only difference in local and state policy, which McComb says has helped keep confirmed cases low.

“Our rates are very low in Nueces County because our stay-at-home order worked, people paid attention to it,” said McComb.

Rates are also low in Jim Wells County, which had seven confirmed cases as of Tuesday. However, confusion started when an amended declaration of emergency included the slogan “stay at home, be safe.”

“I think they misinterpreted that, we were just trying to promote safety and social distancing,” said Jim Wells County Judge Juan Rodriguez.

Some residents believed Jim Wells County had re-instituted stay-at-home orders. In fact, the low case count allowed the county to open businesses to half capacity rather than quarter.

“No, I’m not trying to be more restrictive than anything else,” said Rodriguez. “I’m in agreement with the governor’s office as a matter of fact.”

Here in Nueces County, McComb says he’d be in favor of tougher restrictions, but only if the situation called for it.

“You don’t rule out anything as far as setting up a defense, but I think it would have to be extraordinary for that to happen,” said McComb.

The next round of easing restrictions starts next Monday, when gyms and fitness centers across the state are allowed to reopen.