State Watch

Judge’s El Paso shutdown order temporarily halted by Texas appeals court

A Texas appeals court temporarily halted an order from an El Paso County judge to shut down nonessential businesses in the county, according to the El Paso Times. 

The Eighth Court of Appeals in El Paso ruled 2-1 that several aspects of the order could not be enforced until the court makes its final decision, which is due Friday, according to the news outlet.

Late last month, El Paso Judge Ricardo Samaniego ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential businesses such as tattoo parlors, hair salons, nail salons, gyms and in-person dining due to a spike in COVID-19.

However, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) slammed the move, saying it went against his executive order on reopening businesses. 

“At a press conference on Oct. 25, the county judge made clear that he had not been enforcing existing protocols allowed under law, despite the fact that these protocols are effective strategies to contain COVID-19 while allowing businesses to safely open,” Abbott said at the time.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office and 10 El Paso restaurant companies requested the halt, arguing the ruling goes against Abbott’s order, according to the El Paso Times. A lower court denied the group’s request, and they appealed to the appeals court. 

Until a final judgement is made, “we exercise our discretion to preserve the status quo as it existed just prior to the issuance of the county’s later, more restrictive Stay-at-Home Order,” the court ruled, according to the El Paso Times. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) praised the ruling on Twitter. 

“It is important that we do not shutdown the economy ever again, & this decision allows small businesses to continue to operate & pay employees,” he tweeted.

According to the El Paso Times, the county reported 976 new coronavirus cases and 29 more deaths on Thursday. 

Tags Coronavirus COVID19 El Paso Greg Abbott Ken Paxton

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