County Judge updates ‘Stay Home Order’, Issues new, state-approved curfew starting Wednesday

During a Tuesday evening virtual news conference, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego provided an update to the ‘Stay Home Order,’ a new, modified curfew, as well as information regarding a $10 million relief fund for businesses.

The County Judge issued Stay at Home Order (No. 15) which goes into effect Wednesday, November 25th at 12:01 a.m.  He pointed out that this was a partial curfew, not a complete curfew as he had previously ordered.

“I had the opportunity to speak with Luis Saenz the Governor’s Chief of Staff along with a representative of the Attorney General’s staff; It was a favorable discussion and I believe we arrived at the conclusion that I am able to issue an order…because it’s not the same order…and I want to make it very clear, that it is a partial curfew and it’s not as rigid as the one before…”

The new order establishes curfew from 10 pm to 5 am, and applies to social activities and does not apply to anyone out for essential or non-essential business.

The judge stressed that shopping is not affected by the curfew, allowing stores to remain open for the extended hours and minimize the number of shoppers crowded into a story during the day.

Samaniego also strongly encouraged resident so use curbside, drive-thru or delivery to avoid crowds’ he also strongly urged residents to shelter at home.

The new, modified curfew is set to run through Monday, November 30th at 5 am.

The new order also strongly urges residents to shelter at home, no groups larger than 10 in public or at home. As far as essential businesses, they remain fully open and are defined by federal law. He added that there are no occupancy limits on essential stores.

Additionally, most non essential stores are limited to 50% occupancy, and those stores are described as those that sell only goods such as clothing, shoes, make up and non food items.

The County Judge went on to urge businesses to return to the practices of one-way shopping aisles, readily-available hand sanitizer stations.

Samaniego went on to say that this new curfew and order was striking a balance between opening safe and making sure that business continue to operate.

Earlier in the news conference, after providing an update for national Covid-19 numbers, Samaniego stressed that the region was dealing with the same reality that the entire country

The region is still in ‘Stage One’ Covid-19 status, which the Judge simply described as the “worst stage in our path to recovery.”  In the region, 41% of hospital capacity is currently being taken up with Covid-19 cases.

In addition to the ten mobile morgues – one is not operational – and there are four mobile morgues for a total of 13 in the area.

Samaniego also stated that work had begun on a new, refrigerated temporary facility to help process the loved ones lost during the pandemic. The location of the new facility would not be revealed, out of respect of the loved ones and their families.

Officials with the city also touched on the funds and the programs made available during the pandemic to assist both businesses and residents throughout the county.

Below is the release from the County Judge’s office, followed by the video from Tuesday’s news conference.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego
Issues Stay Home Order No. 15
El Paso County is in STAGE 1 on our community’s Covid-19 Scorecard (Stage 1 is the worst). Today, the Health Department reported 1,257 new Covid-19 cases which brings us to a total of 82,809 cases. We presently have 41% of Covid-19 hospitalizations in El Paso and are sadly reporting 15 new deaths which brings us to a total of 877. We have an estimated 1,500 medical personnel that have been sent to El Paso by the State to help with the spike in hospitalizations. El Paso County, the City, the Office of Emergency Management, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and BorderRAC have been working side by side on the logistics of a Decedent Holding Facility to help with fatality management. This is the current reality our community finds itself in.
This past weekend, El Paso County Judge received approval from Governor Greg Abbott’s Office to move forward with issuing a curfew. Today, the County Judge amended the County’s Stay Home Order to include a curfew throughout the County from the hours of 10:00 P.M.-5:00A.M which will go into effect on November 25, 2020 at 12:01 A.M.
    • Curfew applies to social activities.
    • Curfew does not apply when out for essential or non-essential business.
    • Shopping is not affected by the curfew in order to allow stores to remain open for extended hours and minimize the number of shoppers crowded into a store at any single point during the day.
    • Shoppers are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to utilize curbside-to-go, drive-through, home delivery, and online services to avoid large crowds.
    • This curfew will end on Monday, November 30th at 5:00 P.M., unless extended.
Given the circumstances El Paso County finds itself in, the Department of Public Health released additional guidelines that include recommendations for activities related to Holiday shopping and Holiday gatherings. Some of those guidelines include:
    • Consideration for not gathering with individuals not in the same household.
    • Consideration for avoiding travel anywhere.
    • Celebrating virtually.
    • Shopping online as much as possible.
    • Avoid shopping at peak hours.
    • At-risk loved ones should remain at home and not venture out to shop.
    • Do not gather outside of stores before opening hours.
As a reminder the following measures are currently still in place:
    • Residents are strongly urged to shelter at home.
    • If leaving your home to obtain essential or non-essential services, this Order strongly recommends that only one person per family participate in obtaining goods and services.
    • No gatherings over 10 people.
    • Restaurants are allowed to open at 50% capacity and must stop service at 9:00 p.m. Take out and curbside allowed after that time.
    • Bars remain closed.
    • Face Coverings are required.
To view El Paso County’s Stay Home Order No. 15 click here.  To view the Health Department’s Safe 2020 Shopping Guide
click here.   To view the Health Department’s Guidance for the 2020 Thanksgiving Holiday click here.