Starr Co. addresses price gouging, suspends evictions in new stay-at-home order

Starr County issued an amended stay-at-home order Friday afternoon that was updated to address price gouging and waives fees, deadlines, evictions and foreclosures for 30 days.

The new order, which will take effect Saturday at 12:01 a.m., implements price controls on certain items:

>> Groceries, beverages, toilet articles, ice;

>> Construction and building materials and supplies, earthmoving equipment and machinery;

>> Electrical and gas generating and transmission equipment;

>> Charcoal briquettes, matches, candles, light bulbs, flashlights, dry batteries, hand lanterns;

>> Hand tools, hardware, household supplies;

>> Apartment, duplex, multi-family dwelling, rooming house, hotel and motel rental;

>> Gasoline, diesel oil, motor oil, kerosene, grease, and automotive lubricants;

>> Restaurant, cafeteria, and boarding house meals;

>> Services of roofing and building contractors, plumbers, electricians;

>> Medicine, pharmaceutical, and medical equipment and supplies;

>> Blankets, quilts, bedspreads, linens, mattresses, towels, toilet paper;

>> Furniture and clothing.

Included in the order is a waiver of all service fees and charges associated with making telephone, or long distance, payments to the county. It also suspends for 30 days all deadlines imposed by local law or regulations, all trial hearings or proceedings by landlords attempting to evict a tenant for lack of payment, and all foreclosures within the county.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera signed the initial stay-at-home order earlier this week and it went into effect Wednesday morning.

Under the order residents of Starr County are instructed to remain at home unless absolutely necessary in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. There are only three confirmed cases of the virus in Starr County as of Friday afternoon.

The same exceptions listed in the first order are included in the one issued Friday, which include leaving the house for essential personal activities, obtaining healthcare services, performing essential infrastructure operations, performing governmental operations, and operating an essential business.

The order will be in effect through April 11.

A person that violates the order may be penalized by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 180 days in jail.