Smith County judge extends stay-at-home order until April 30

Smith County judge extends stay-at-home order until April 30
Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran addresses Commissioners Court on COVID-19

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran has extended the county’s stay-at-home order through April 30 to coincide with Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide order.

The Smith County Commissioners Court discussed the County’s order at its meeting Tuesday morning and Moran signed the extension Tuesday afternoon.

He said one of the main reasons to extend the order is that it includes some provisions not in the statewide order.

One of those is the locked business provision, which he said could lead to some confusion if the local order was allowed to expire. The locked business provision provides an exception for businesses that can operate behind locked doors with limited to no face-to-face interaction with the public.

That means the County’s order does not violate the social distancing restrictions in the governor’s order.

Moran said extending the orders eliminates the possibility of confusion and questions about whether a business that falls under the County’s locked business exemption can or cannot continue to operate under the statewide order, which does not include such an exemption.

Moran also pointed to the provision in his order than mandates anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, anyone who is waiting for test results, and their families to stay home and self-isolate.

If the governor’s order wasn’t in place until the end of April, Moran said he would likely have taken this a week at a time. But, since the order lasts through April 30, Moran thinks it’s best to follow suit.

“We want to get back to business as quick as possible,” he said.

Smith County’s current stay-at-home order will expire at 11:59 Friday night.

Another new development from the meeting is a request for local National Guard members to help the East Texas Food Bank distribute food boxes. The food bank has seen an increased need since COVID-19 has led to businesses cutting hours or closing their doors altogether.

The county is also working on an agreement to possibly use the old fire station to house Smith County detention officers if needed. Moran said that would be an agreement with the City of Tyler.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 79 confirmed cases of the virus in Smith County. That number includes 17 new cases in the past 24 hours.

The initial stay-at-home order was issued on March 27, when Smith County has 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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