The Latest: Texas judge upholds El Paso business shutdown

www.startribune.com
5 min read
fairly difficult
A Texas district judge on Friday upheld an order from El Paso County's top elected official shutting down businesses while the region fights an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases.
AUSTIN, Texas —

The decision from Judge Bill Moody of El Paso's 34th District Court came as federal military medical teams deployed to the border region at the request of the state.

The county's top elected official, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential activities late last week.

In making his decision, Moody pointed out that during the Spanish flu pandemic in the early part of the 20th century, city and county elected officials had authority to respond as they "thought was necessary to protect the health and financial interests of their individual communities."

Chris Hilton, an attorney with the Texas attorney general's office, said the state would appeal. Attorney General Ken Paxton has argued that Samaniego's order is illegal because it goes against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide order to reopen businesses.

Meanwhile, three Air Force medical teams were expected to arrive in El Paso by the weekend, according to Seth Christensen, chief of media and communications for the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

El Paso joins a list of 10 other cities, including Houston, San Antonio and multiple communities in the Rio Grande Valley region, to receive aid from the Department of Defense at the request of Texas officials, Christensen said.

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HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows diagnosed with the coronavirus

— Books? Hairdressers? Europeans split on lockdown essentials

— In India, polluted air spells trouble for virus patients

— China's October exports accelerate, boosted by US demand

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— Follow AP's coronavirus pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/virus-outbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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