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Starr County judge signs stay-at-home order, effective at midnight

3 months 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, March 24 2020 Mar 24, 2020 March 24, 2020 6:42 PM March 24, 2020 in News - Coronavirus Pandemic

RIO GRANDE CITY – Starr County is the latest county announcing a stay-at-home/stay safe order that goes into effect at 12 a.m. Wednesday.

Judge Eloy Vera signed the order around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

According to Vera, there will be exceptions to allow people buy medicine and groceries. Employees performing essential functions in the workplace will also be granted permission to go to work.

County leaders want to keep people at home as much as possible to avoid spreading COVID-19. They made this decision similar to Cameron County, but tailored to the needs of their community.

"For example, if a rancher need to haul water to their cattle," said Judge Vera. "Well, certainly, we don't want the cattle to die. And, he probably won't be at risk, because he's going to the ranch where there's no other people out there."

Judge Vera said in a telephonic interview the county wants to be proactive.

"I know that some people might be uneasy, because we're doing this when we don't have a confirmed case; but, if we can save some citizens from having to go through this we certainly want to do it," said Judge Vera.

Those who do not comply could face stiff penalties including a fine of up to $1,000 and 120 days in jail.

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Correction: This story previous stated the rule as a "shelter-in-place" order. It now reflects the correct term used in the mandate.

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