Hidalgo County implements curfew

Hidalgo County Commissioners Court is implementing a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning immediately for those who are not part of the critical infrastructure.

The curfew does not apply to persons who work for government agencies that will remain open as determined by local government authorities, persons traveling to and from essential businesses and retail establishments, persons authorized to travel by the emergency management director and law enforcement, first responders and emergency medical services personnel.

“This is a time in our lives where we must learn to let go of self interests,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said in a video he released to announce the curfew. “We are facing a world crisis and we must make certain sacrifices.”

A ban on gatherings and nonessential businesses now also includes hair and nail salons, barber shops, gyms, spas, piercing parlors and tattoo shops.

Businesses that can continue to operate include grocery stores, gas stations, parks, essential retail establishments, hospitals, medical facilities, or terminals for buses, trains or airplanes — as long as the necessary precautions are maintained for employees and customers.

Critical infrastructure is defined as such: healthcare and pharmaceutical services, agricultural and food supply, telecommunications, call centers that service critical infrastructure operations, information technology, staffing operations centers, those offering repair and maintenance services to critical infrastructure, banking and financial institutions, insurance and legal services, public utilities, critical manufacturing and construction, emergency services, fire and law enforcement, public works, sanitation services, and transportation and logistics.

“It is not martial law,” Cortez said. “Hidalgo County is not in a lockdown. These orders are the formal statement of an objective, data-driven approach to the ongoing public health emergency.”

Hidalgo County will also not impose fees and service charges associated with telephone and online payments to the county.

Commissioners also suspended deadlines imposed by local law enforcement and ceased evictions and foreclosures for 30 days.

They also encouraged people to limit in-person transactions at Hidalgo County facilities and indicated that only essential and emergency matters shall be conducted in the Hidalgo County Courthouse pursuant to orders of the Texas Supreme Court.