EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — In a victory for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Mayor Dee Margo and a number of small businesses, the 8th Court of Appeals late Thursday temporarily halted County Judge Ricardo Samaniego’s shutdown order.
That means that the City and County must revert to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 and the City’s Sixth Local Emergency Directive, which were issued prior to the County’s shutdown order.
“This means that the City of El Paso will need to restore enforcement of the Local Emergency Directive issued on October 15, 2020 and GA-32,” said City Attorney Karla Nieman.
Margo said, “Today’s ruling from the 8th Court of Appeals restores our previous directive; and as I have stated, the City must follow the law. We must balance the lives and the livelihoods of our community, and this requires all of us to change our social behavior.”
The following restrictions are back in place:
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people or less
- Visits to nursing homes, living centers or facilities and long-term care facilities is not allowed, except in extreme cases (end of life, compassionate care, etc.)
- Parades are limited to 10 participants or less
- All indoor sports are postponed, except for professional sports, and outdoor sports cannot have spectators
- Businesses cannot operate at more than 50 percent of total listed occupancy
- Restaurant dine-in services must end at 9 p.m. Drive-thru and carry-out can continue after 9 p.m. Dine-in services may resume at 6 a.m.
- Bars or similar establishments are closed.
- Individuals are encouraged to limit leaving their homes, and for essential purposes only.
- City parks remain closed, however, walking, hiking and bike trails are open, as are city playgrounds and walking trails within and around parks.
- Face masks are required while in public. Individuals face a $250 fine for violating this restriction.
- Those who receive a positive COVID-19 test result but has not yet been contacted by the City’s Department of Public Health within 24 hours of receiving the laboratory results, must isolate; and those from within their household must quarantine, and report to (915) 212-6520 within 24 hours of receiving the positive test result.
Samaniego reacted to the ruling on Thursday, saying “while I am extremely disappointed in the ruling, I will honor the Court’s decision.”
He continued: “Tomorrow, after a final ruling by the 8th Court of Appeals, I will issue a final order. … I will be exploring legal permissible options to stop the spread of the virus. I will be looking to the business community and others to create a safe pathway moving forward.”