HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo urged people Thursday to continue to exercise personal responsibility as she extended the “stay home, work safe” order that was originally issued for the county in March.
Hidalgo’s representatives confirmed Wednesday that the order will be extended until June 10. Hidalgo said Thursday that she’s extending the order because she doesn’t want to give the community a false sense that the coronavirus crisis is over.
“When folks ask, ‘Are we safe?’ I say, ‘We are no safer than we were in March,’” Hidalgo said.
The judge said the extended order also includes a set of safety guidelines for workers in public-facing businesses and another set of guidelines for workers in the manufacturing industry. She said some of the guidelines call for public-facing workers to be allowed to take a break once an hour to wash their hands while manufacturing workers should be given a 15-minute break every four hours to do the same. She said that employers who penalize workers for wearing masks or trying to practice proper safety are “on notice.”
“Simply put, these guidelines are designed to help lift the real dangers and the fear that workers are exposed to and suffer from day-to-day,” Hidalgo said. “No worker should be forced to be without face coverings or go in sick.”
Hidalgo assured the public that her extended order aligns with the parameters laid out by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. She said it is her duty to follow the governor’s orders, but she pleaded with the public to continue to practice social distancing and working from home whenever possible.
The judge’s message comes as places like bars and bowling alleys are being allowed to reopen on Friday, per an order issued by Abbott last week.
“Perhaps, now, you can go to the club,” Hidalgo said. “Will I be going to the club? No. It’s not responsible.”
Dr. Umair Shah, of Harris County Public Health, said that there has yet to be a downward trend in the number of new coronavirus cases being reported in the county.
Hidalgo said that we cannot truly return to normal until there is a treatment, vaccine or cure for the virus.
“The moment we get over-confident, we put our community at risk,” Hidalgo said.
Hidalgo said that she has no plans at this time to change rules for county parks during the upcoming holiday weekend, but she is still determining the best course of action.
You can read the extended order below.
You can watch a replay of her news conference below.