TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County Judge Moran issued a clear statement Monday morning that he has “no plans” currently to issue a stay-at-home order for residents from the coronavirus.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Gov. Abbott said in a press conference that he would leave the decision up to local leaders.

“The most effective manner of combating the spread of COVID-19 within our community has been and remains the personal choices of each individual and business to utilize strict sanitary habits, keep a safe distance from others, self-isolate when becoming symptomatic, and operationalize business practices that are consistent with reducing the spread of COVID-19. No amount of government regulation—whether on the local, state or national level, can serve as an adequate substitute for the personal choices of our citizens. And, government use all due restraint before impairing the personal freedoms of those it governs—especially during a time of crisis.”

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran

Moran said that while the virus is likely to increase in the coming days through Smith County, a stay-at-home order would be a “last resort.”

On Friday night, an executive order issued by Gov. Abbott went into effect that put strict social distancing restrictions in place across Texas. They included:

  • bans on groups larger than 10 people
  • All schools and gyms closed
  • Bars and restaurants must discontinue in-house service
  • Hospital and nursing home visits restricted unless providing medical care

Smith County by far has the most coronavirus cases in East Texas with 10. No other county has more than a single case.

Abbott was hesitant on Sunday to issue a full statewide order because of the 254 counties in Texas, nearly 200 still did not have a single confirmed case.

On Sunday, Dallas County issued a stay-at-home order to its residents as the virus continues to spread.