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‘We’re about to bring the force of law to Matagorda County’: Judge issues voluntary shelter-in-place for county residents

Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald issued a voluntary shelter-in-place for the county on Monday, March 30, 2020.
Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald issued a voluntary shelter-in-place for the county on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Matagorda County)

MATAGORDA COUNTY – Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald issued a voluntary shelter-in-place order for the entire county Monday.

McDonald made the announcement during a news conference Monday in an effort to keep people home.

“We’re going to be following the city of Bay City and we’re going to have a voluntary shelter-in-place for the entirety of the county,” McDonald said. “…Let me explain to you what that means. Voluntary is giving you all the credit to make good decisions. I can tell you if in a couple of days some of our bad actors are still making bad decisions, we’re going to make it a little bit tougher for everybody to get around, and we’re going to place you under mandatory shelter-in-place.”

McDonald also put a county-wide, mandatory curfew into place for people 17 and under from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Anyone who is not inside their own home at that time will be ticketed and likely escorted home by law enforcement, McDonald said.

County health officials confirmed during the news conference that there are 20 positive cases in the county. McDonald said that is entirely too many.

“We’ve asked you. We’ve pleaded with you. We’ve recommended that you follow the CDC’s recommendations for two weeks … However, there are a number of you who continue not to do it,” McDonald said. “…This isn’t something that we, as your elected leaders, are spreading the symptoms of. This is something at you all, as the citizens of Matagorda County, and specifically, those of you who refuse to follow our suggestions and our recommendations are now spreading.”

McDonald asked county resident again to follow the executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott that put the guidelines in place for social distancing, gathering and more.

“This isn’t something that is a suggestion, ladies and gentlemen. The governor’s executive order is state law in the state of Texas until further notice,” McDonald said. “…So, ladies and gentlemen, what I am telling you this afternoon is that we are going to ask the sheriff of Matagorda County to double down. To start arresting people and start issuing citations for those of you who refuse to follow the governor’s emergency order … We’ve had enough. We’re done with coddling you. We’re about to bring the force of law to Matagorda County.”

McDonald closed the news conference by asking people to heed the new voluntary shelter-in-place and the new mandatory curfew.

“These are uncharted waters … We cannot do this by ourselves,” McDonald said. “It’s not a good day when you have a child or a grandparent or a mom or a dad contract this disease. I can tell you, that it’s your worst day when you lose a child, a grandparent, a mother, a father, a brother or sister. I can tell you that I lost a child on July 15, 2000, and it haunts me to this day. I don’t want any of that for any of you. Please follow the orders that I’m giving you. Please do the things that we’re asking you to do. And let’s not lose another Matagorda Countian. Let’s not lose another one. One is too many, let’s don’t revisit that.”

An elderly Matagorda County man was the first coronavirus-related death in the state of Texas.

1400 hours Matagorda County Covid19 update

Posted by Matagorda County Emergency Operation Center on Monday, March 30, 2020

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