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EDINBURG – Looking to slow the spread of COVID-19, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez ordered all residents to stay at home unless they are conducting essential business. The order becomes effective at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 26.
The move comes after a total of eight Hidalgo County residents learned that they have tested positive for the highly contagious COVID-19 virus. Medical experts have advised Judge Cortez that the spread of the virus could increase exponentially without drastic action to keep people at home.
“I make this extraordinary move convinced that it is the right path for the safety of the residents of Hidalgo County,” Judge Cortez said.”I know this will cause hardship but I am convinced this will save lives.”
The order remains in effect until April 10, but Judge Cortez has the authority to lift the order at any time.
Under the order, all people in Hidalgo County must stay at home round the clock. People may travel only for essential business such as seeking medical help or going to the grocery store. Residents are also free to travel to perform essential government functions.
In addition, all businesses, except those designated as essential, must close. A partial list of these businesses is listed at the end of this release.
People may leave their homes for only specific reasons, among them:
To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (for example, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a healthcare professional, or obtaining supplies needed to work from home).
To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of households, or to deliver those services or supplies to others.
To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing including maintaining six-foot social distancing from each other; washing hands with soap and water at least twenty seconds often or using hand sanitizer; covering coughs or sneezes; cleaning high-touch surfaces; not shaking hands.
To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order.
To care for a family member, a child or pet in another household.
“Residents must realize that the safest place for them is in their homes,” Judge Cortez said. “I realize that there are essential needs for people to leave their homes. I ask these people to exercise their discretion.”03252020 Hidalgo County Judge Richard F Cortez Issues Shelter At Home Order.pdf