Even as some residents balk at a raft of emergency orders that have placed major limitations on area businesses, County Judge Danny Pierce continues to plead with Walker County residents for full compliance.
With a midnight curfew and several occupancy limitations already in place, he said that more restrictions could come if people and businesses ignore directives on social distancing and go out when it is not necessary.
“All but one or two counties contiguous to Walker County have issued lockdown orders. None of us want that, and we will do everything possible to put that off as long as we can,” the county judge said during a Monday afternoon press conference.
“It all depends on how well we continue to abide by the orders we are given.”
If forced, however, the county judge said he’s prepared to issue the order.
“We are all in this fight together … this is a team project, but we intend to enforce these orders to be sure everyone is in compliance,” Pierce added.
Monday’s press conference came on the heels of a commissioners court meeting, when Pierce was asked by four separate individuals to crackdown on non-compliant businesses.
“The cavalier attitude taken by some citizens in this county is beyond my belief,” local resident Jeff Bradley said. “ I’m not asking for a shutdown of this county, and there are many people who have made great sacrifices, and are doing everything they have been asked to do by the CDC, President (Donald) Trump, Governor (Greg) Abbott and Judge Pierce. But every business needs to be in compliance.”
“If one business is compliant and the one next door isn’t, then the social distancing orders don’t work,” Madilene Loosier added.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there have been three confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Walker County. Two of the cases remain active, while another case has “graduated out.”
However, without widespread local testing, many believe that the actual cases could be much higher. Nearby Montgomery County has confirmed 81 cases, while Harris County has 526 confirmed cases and Brazos County has 44.
“We have not been able to get test kits from the state to test our population with symptoms, said Sherri Pegoda, the deputy emergency management coordinator with the Walker County Office Emergency Management. “We are calling daily to try and get our order pushed through.”
Commissioners extend disaster declaration
The Walker County Commissioners Court voted Monday morning to extend the local health disaster declaration. The order will be extended until the next commissioners court meeting, which is currently scheduled for April 6.
The curfew and occupancy orders will continue as long as Walker County remains under an emergency declaration.