Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo wants authority to issue 2nd stay-at-home order

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is fighting for the authority to issue another stay-at-home order after local officials lifted the previous one, trusting people would take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

SEE RELATED STORY: Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo moves COVID-19 threat level to red

"We need folks to stay home. We need folks to be part of this effort and work together as a community for the sake of our health, our economy, and all our neighbors," said Hidalgo.

Ultimately, Gov. Greg Abbott has the final say on if she can do that.

"We have to be patient and have a more sustainable reopening, so that we can have more economic opportunity over the long haul instead of having this situation where we're bouncing between open and closed, which ultimately leads to lost confidence in the economy," said Hidalgo.

Harris County sent a public safety alert on Friday to people's phones to announce that the county was elevated to a level one threat.

"We did issue an alert today because we want to make sure every resident in this county knows that we are now in red alert, the highest threat level for COVID-19 in this community, and we don't want anybody to miss that," said Hidalgo. "We need every single person on board with this effort."

Abbott announced Friday that bars had to close, restaurants needed to reduce to 50 percent capacity, gatherings of 100 people or more would need special permission and rafting and tubing businesses had to close.

He later said he regretted allowing bars to reopen.

SEE RELATED STORY: 'If I could go back:' Gov. Abbott regrets reopening bars during COVID-19
Texas passed many states where more than 10 percent of people being tested come back positive. The only states that surpassed Texas are South Carolina, Florida and Arizona.

"We don't want to go back and forth," said Abbott. "We want to close down in targeted ways obviously using hindsight, but also the data that we have closing bars is an appropriate strategy, these other things that we have identified where the spread was coming from, what are the appropriate strategy.

As the efforts to re-open the state appear to be at a pause and are even being reversed in places like Houston, Hidalgo said she understands how people must be feeling.

"I understand how hard this is. I understand how exhausted everybody is but we're nothing if not resilient, and we are a community that is tough, that is strategic, that is smart," she said.



More of Hidalgo's interview with ABC13 and other stories on COVID-19 and Our Community are available on our app through your Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, or Roku.

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