Families with kids out of school have been shopping in groups at big box stores as if nothing was going on, not even a deadly pandemic.
“That’s what we were trying to stop,” Orange County Judge Judge John Gothia said about big stores. He talked with Gary Stelly Thursday during an interview on KOGT’s The Morning Show.
Gothia is working with other county judges in the area to pool resources and orders relating to the declared Covid 19 emergency. Tyler County has now joined with Orange, Newton, Jefferson, Jasper, and Hardin counties. He said each county judge keeps in contact with the mayors and city managers, along with school superintendents in their jurisdictions.
Tuesday, the judges were preparing to issue a stay home order, similar to a “shelter in place.” Gothia on Wednesday morning said he expected a stay-at-home order. But throughout Wednesday, the areawide decision went back and forth. At 3 p.m., the information director for the coalition of judges sent out a press release saying the Stay Home, Stay Safe order had been made. Media published and announced the decision, only to learn it was not accurate.
Gothia said the group of judges was relunctant to call the Stay Home, Stay Safe, but needed stores to keep better health and safety measures.
The Dallas area has a Stay Home order, but people are allowed to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, or pickup serves at restaurants. Gothia said stores in that area have been making sure customers stay six feet apart. Some of the big box stores are limiting customers to 20 at a time for only 30 minutes.
The judge said local stores needed to do something different to keep people safe. Emergency planning personnel have talked to the stores to keep people apart, he said.
The order issued on Wednesday says people should shop alone unless they have a handicap that needs assistance or there is no child care available.
“We are all struggling through this together,” Gothia said.
The annual Mauriceville Crawfish Festival was canceled on Wednesday even though it is not until the first of May. All local events in April, including Art in the Park, have been canceled.
Bassmasters is scheduled to have a tournament here May 30. Construction is continuing on a covered pavilion at the Boat Ramp. The city of Orange, which is paying for most of the pavilion, has been planning for the facility to be finished in time for the tournament.
Gothia said Bassmasters has postponed some of its tournaments, but has not made any decisions on the one in Orange.
He told Stelly rescheduling the fishing tournament will be easy, because Bassmasters has only a few a year. However, local planners have booked country singer Neal McCoy for the tournament. He said McCoy plays dozens of venues a year and might be hard to reschedule.
Gothia predicts Bassmasters will be here sometime, but there may be a change in entertainers.