Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, COVID-19 was surging and lockdowns returned. Ok, so that’s not how the lyrics to the classic Marty Robbins song “El Paso” began, but if he were around today that would be the relevant way to begin the song, as lockdowns have indeed returned.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced he is ordering a two-week shutdown of all non-essential services to curb the surge of COVID. “Our hospitals are at capacity. Our medical professionals are overwhelmed. If we don’t respond, we will see unprecedented levels of deaths,” Samaniego said at a news briefing.
Voting will be considered an essential activity, according to Samaniego. “I call on every single El Pasoan to stay home unless you are working in an essential job or accessing essential services, including exercising your right to vote,” he said.
The lockdown order began Friday. Grocery stores, schools, childcare facilities, healthcare facilities and pharmacies can all remain open. COVID cases have been climbing gradually in El Paso county with more than 14,000 active cases currently.
Now, you may be asking why is a judge announcing a lockdown? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is wondering the same thing. El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said Judge Samaniego never consulted him about the plan. The Texas Attorney General addressed the shutdown with a tweet, saying “El Paso County Judge Samaniego has no authority to shut down businesses in El Paso County. This is a direct violation of @GovAbbott’s executive order. My office is quickly exploring all legal actions.”
Sounds like there is about to be a showdown over the shutdown in the west Texas town of El Paso.