DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas this week takes its first steps toward restarting the economy, setting up potential conflict between the governor and local officials over how quickly to move.
“Don’t rush it. Please, folks,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, in a press conference Tuesday.
He urged the public to remain cautious, as restrictions are loosened. “If we don’t do this right, we’ll suffer the fate of everyone who’s done it wrong so far,” he said, citing warnings from experts.
Jenkins joined two county commissioners Tuesday in a split vote to extend the county’s stay at home order through May 15. The date, proposed by the Dallas County Medical Society, falls two weeks after May 1, when it estimates COVID-19 infections could peak locally. It also comes three weeks after the current measures take effect.
State parks opened Monday. Elective medical procedures will resume Wednesday. And Friday, businesses can open to offer retail to go.
By mid-May, it should be clear if the number of new infections is trending downward.
The county commissioners vote, though, was followed by some confusion.
“It was my understanding that we could not supersede the governor’s orders,” said Commissioner John Wiley Price.
Judge Jenkins says right now there is no conflict between the county’s executive order and governor’s. People in Dallas County, he says, still have to stay at home when not exercising or engaging in essential business.
“It really hasn’t changed except for now you have more businesses to frequent and if you work in one of those businesses, hallelujah, you’re getting a paycheck,” said Jenkins.
Governor Greg Abbott, though, plans to announce another executive order Monday. If it is at odds with orders issued by local cities or counties, the governor’s mandate would win out.
“It would overrule any local jurisdiction,” said Abbott.
Details of his next executive order have not been made public, but he has said it will involve the state’s recovery.
It’s also possible portions won’t apply statewide, he said Tuesday.