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The process of reopening businesses Begins

Richard Cortez, Hidalgo County Judge

EDINBURG – Forty-five days after he issued a Declaration of Local Disaster Due to a Public Health Emergency, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez began the process of easing restrictions and placing the county on a cautious path toward reopening local businesses and reviving the local economy.

In accordance with Executive Order GA-18 issued by Governor Greg Abbott on Monday, Judge Cortez’ will allow his emergency order to expire as scheduled at midnight on Thursday, April 30.

In what is called the AMENDED EMERGENCY ORDER RELATED TO THE EXPANDED REOPENING OF SELECT SERVICES DURING THE PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY, Judge Cortez has ordered, beginning Friday:

  • The opening of retail stores that operate at no more than a 25 percent capacity.
  • The opening of dine-in services at restaurants at no more than 25 percent capacity.
  • The opening of movie theaters that operate at 25 percent capacity.
  • The opening of shopping malls that operate at 25 percent capacity.
  • The allowance of elective medical and dental procedures.

“I’ve always considered public safety and economic consequences in deciding how best to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Judge Cortez said. “While I believe the two can go hand-in-hand, Governor Abbott’s move to restore economic activity allows us to do so with a gradual easing of these mitigation efforts.”

Residents of Hidalgo County should continue to shelter at home and use facial coverings. While no longer required, Judge Cortez strongly urged people to follow these safety guidelines voluntarily.

“We know what works,” Judge Cortez said. Avoiding crowds, using facial covering, practicing good hygiene have all contributed to slowing the spread of this contagious disease. Hidalgo County has consistently had among the lowest rates of COVID-19 infections among the largest Texas counties in great measure because of these measures.

“The impact of this pandemic will be felt for many years,” Judge Cortez said. “My objective is to put this county on the path to economic vibrancy while being vigilant to the potential of secondary waves of infection from this virus.”

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