Bars in Starr County are ordered to remain closed and Halloween activities are suspended as part of ongoing precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, joining Hidalgo County in taking the same course of precautionary measures.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, in consultation with Starr County Health Authority Antonio Falcon and other local leaders, announced the decision Friday afternoon that the city would continue to take “extreme caution” to ensure the safety of residents.

Vera noted that so far, 179 Starr County residents have died due to complications related to COVID-19.

“We mourn their loss and pray that more deaths can be prevented,” Vera wrote. “A vaccine should be announced in the very near future, but until then we must all work together and practice Starr County emergency safety recommendations.”

He added that infections numbers in the county have been on a downward trend which he credited to residents following safety recommendations.

“This year it saddens me to ask for Halloween activities to be suspended, but the safety and wellbeing of all of our children is of utmost importance and keeping them safe is our number one priority,” Vera wrote. 

He added, “A successful economy is essential for the healthy and prosperous community, but at this time, we are also recommending to suspend opening of local bars.”

Vera said new emergency orders were forthcoming and would be posted within the next few days.