El Paso County closing nonessential businesses as coronavirus infections continue climbing


A view of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez on October 24, 2020 taken from El Paso, Texas.(Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (Texas Tribune) — El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Thursday ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential businesses in this border area to help curb the record-breaking rise of COVID-19 cases that have overwhelmed hospitals.

The move comes after Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide executive order allowing some nonessential businesses to reopen to 75% capacity.

For several days, El Paso has seen daily case counts that exceed 1,000 new infections, forcing the judge to install a curfew for residents from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. 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.

Thursday’s move however is more aggressive and necessary to save lives, the judge said during a virtual press conference.

“The hard truth is that the people that are dying are in El Paso. They are not in Austin, and I have the responsibility to do everything I can,” he said.

The order does not effect poll workers or voters who have not yet cast ballots during early voting in Texas.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at www.texastribune.org. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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