TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Just four days after he said he would only use it as a last resort, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran issued a mandatory, county-wide “shelter-in-place” order Friday afternoon.
“The purpose of this order is to further protect the health, safety, and welfare of Smith County.”
It will go into effect Friday night at 11:59 p.m. and will remain until April 10. Moran did say that he could revoke it early or could even exten it.
The move comes just two days after neighboring Gregg County issued a similar order with four cases.
Smith County has been the heart of the coronavirus outbreak in East Texas, with 21 confirmed cases so far and 1 death. This accounts for well more than half of all cases in the Piney Woods.
- Smith County – 21
- Morris County – 1
- Cass County – 1
- Van Zant – 1
- Gregg County – 4
- Rusk County – 2
- Bowie County – 1
- Hopkins County – 1
- Nacogdoches County – 1
- Upshur County – 1
- Angelina County – 1
- Harrison County – 1
- Shelby County – 1
- Cherokee County – 1
It is the latest development in extraordinary measures governments have had to take in an effort to contain the virus.
On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that everyone flying into Texas from the New York area or New Orleans to go under a mandatory self-quarantine for two weeks.
It has been a week since Gov. Abbott signed his initial executive order that put in place strict social distancing restrictions across the state. These included:
- Bans on groups larger than 10 people
- All schools and gyms shut down
- Bars and restaurants must suspend in-house service
- Hospital and nursing home visits prohibited unless providing medical care
That order is still active until Friday, April 3, after which Abbott said the state will reevaluate its position.