TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran announced on Thursday that he would be allowing the county stay-at-home order to expire at midnight along with Gov. Abbott’s order.
“It expires on its own terms and I have no intention to issue any additional orders and I have no intention to extend that order,” Moran said.
Smith County also announced two new cases of coronavirus for 144 total cases, but along with 85 recoveries. 31 patients are currently hospitalized in Tyler hospitals.
NET Health CEO George Roberts said that the recovery number would be updated on Friday.
On Wednesday, it was passed by Nacogdoches and Panola Counties for the most cases of coronavirus in East Texas. It also announced on Wednesday no new cases for the virus along with nine new recoveries, easily the best day for the county since the crisis began.
Last week, multiple members of the commissioners courts expressed displeasure with Gov. Abbott’s stay-at-home order, saying they wanted local control for their constituents.
Joining them was State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) who has said multiple times in interviews and on social media that Abbott’s administration was taking too long to re-open the economy.
Friday begins phase one of Abbott’s plan to re-open the economy, which is allowing many businesses to resume in-house service at 25% capacity if they wish to. This includes:
- Retail stores
- Movie theaters
- Museums and libraries (hands-on exhibits must remain closed)
- All licensed healthcare officces
If there is not a significant flare-up of cases over the next two weeks, Abbott will expand it to 50% on May 18.
Tyler officials shwoed graphics for busineses about how to calculate their load limit that the order puts on them:
In Tyler, many businesses are now faced with a tough decision on whether or not to re-open.
Tyler City Councilman Bob Westbrook, president of the East Texas Restaurant Association, asked that residents call ahead for all reservations for the next several weeks as restaurants adjust to the seating limitations.
Outdoor sports may also resume, but groups must be less than five people and they must maintain social distancing rules (i.e. golf or tennis).