McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — A shelter-in-place order now in effect in McKinney could soon be overturned.
A Collin County court judge signaled she will likely halt the order, after a lawsuit by a local business owner.
In a hearing Friday afternoon, Judge Jill Willis agreed the mayor’s order to close down non-essential businesses conflicted with a countywide order, which prevailed.
“Businesses are essential. We need them to stay open,” announced County Judge Chris Hill Tuesday.
Derek Baker, a realtor in Mckinney, said he’s received hate mail since filing the lawsuit.
“‘There’s gonna be blood on your hands.’ ‘You want people to die.’ It’s sad when you see those kind of things. No, we don’t want that. I want people to be wise,” he said.
His lawsuit claims the mayor’s order violates state law and asks for a temporary restraining order barring its enforcement.
Judge Willis agreed parts of the order were inconsistent with the county judge’s order, including portions requiring all residents to stay home, businesses to close and churches to hold services by video or teleconference.
“I believe the list of businesses that are essential is arbitrary,” said Baker, who said his job was deemed non-essential. “He carved out specific businesses, what I call winners and losers, if you’re lucky enough to be on the winners list, good for you.”
Baker, though, said he’s continued to meet with clients.
“I have another appointment tomorrow, where we have a deadline. If we don’t make the deadline, they lose their earnest money. Several thousand dollars. I have no choice, I have to be there,” he said.
Mayor George Fuller disagrees.
“It’s serious to shut down a business. It’s serious to ask people to stay at home. It’s also serious to let a pandemic get out of control,” Fuller said.
For him, the fight against the virus is now personal.
“I’ve lost a friend to COVID-19 now. My daughter is getting tested as we speak because she’s been showing symptoms for a few days,” he said.
Fuller worries if his order is overturned there will many more people sick and much quicker.
The lawsuit arrived at city hall shortly after city council voted unanimously to ratify the mayor’s order.
Because it challenged the mayor’s action, not the city council’s, the order remains in effect until a hearing Monday considers an amended request by Baker’s lawyer.
County Judge Chris Hill said he only learned of the lawsuit Friday evening.
“It’s my understanding the lawsuit alleges a conflict between McKinney Mayor George Fuller’s disaster order and my own. I have already spoken with Mayor Fuller to invite him to work with me to bring our orders into clear harmony and to demonstrate continued cooperation between the county and the city,” Hill said.
Mayor Fuller confirms the two plan to meet Saturday to try to come to an agreement.