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Businesses can remain open in Texas county as part of coronavirus 'stay at home' order — and some folks are none too pleased

'All businesses, all jobs, and all workers are essential to the financial health of our local economy'

Collin County (Texas) Judge Chris Hill (Image source: WFAA-TV video screenshot)

A county judge in North Texas is raising a few eyebrows — and some ire — with a coronavirus stay-at-home order that also allows most businesses to remain open, WFAA-TV reported.

"All businesses, all jobs, and all workers are essential to the financial health of our local economy, and therefore they are essential to the health of Collin County citizens," Collin County Judge Chris Hill said Tuesday, the station noted.

Hill's order also says "persons who are employed need to stay employed. Persons who lack employment need to gain employment. Businesses that are able to remain open need to remain open."

What are the details?

Under Hill's order, Collin County residents should leave their homes only for essential reasons — but he also said as long as most businesses can follow Gov. Greg Abbott's guidelines, they can stay open, WFAA reported.

And while gyms and entertainment venues must remain closed, and restaurants and bars have to move to takeout or delivery orders only, offices and retail establishments such as clothing stores can stay open as long as no more than 10 people are inside, the station said.

"If you are shopping for essential clothes that you need, then absolutely I would say that's a valid reason [to leave your home]," Hill said, according to WFAA. "If you are shopping for the latest styles for this spring, I would ask you to stay home."

Hill said he's trying to balance the physical health and well-being of county residents while recognizing that financial health also is important, the station said.

"When we say we are interested in the economic health of Collin County families, I am not interested in their 401(k) balance at this moment. That's not what I'm talking about," the judge noted, according to WFAA. "We are talking about making sure that, as we move forward over the next two, four, eight, or 12 weeks ... those families have the resources they need to provide food, shelter, and health care for their families."

Pushback

When Hill announced Tuesday's order, many Collin County mayors stood behind him, the station said. But by late afternoon, at least one of them — McKinney Mayor George Fuller — was concerned the order was confusing and didn't go far enough, WFAA reported.

"The order today talked about, 'If you're open, implement best practices.' But there's no indication what best practices are," Fuller said at a special city council meeting, according to the station. "So, in addition to other things, our order must contain what those things are."

Twitter users were less kind in regard to Hill's order:

  • "I have a lot of relatives who live in Collin County, TX. This is idiotic," one user wrote. "What is wrong with you people?"
  • "Shout out to the Collin County judge for being a f***ing greedy t**t, telling people that if they're not employed to get employed, rather than staying home during this pandemic," another user wrote. "That's how you make s**t worse. And it's going to be the citizens who f***ing pay for his s**t."
  • "Oh for f***s sake," another user wrote. "I live in Collin County. I have a business. It is not an essential business, so I have voluntarily suspended operations. Most businesses are not 'essential.' How hard a concept is this to figure out?"
  • "Collin county is not being a good neighbor," another user wrote.

But Republican state Sen. Angela Paxton of McKinney told WFAA she supports Hill's order.

"Any way that a business can remain open and employing people and helping them put food on the table, I think is healthy," Paxton told the station. "We all need everyone's best right now, and that includes this balance between freedom and responsibility."

She added, "I'm thrilled to live in a state like Texas where I think people get that. They know they're free but we need you to use your freedom to choose what's good and to choose what's healthy," WFAA said.

One last thing…
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