Two days after saying he opposed a shelter-in-place order, Collin County commissioner Darrell Hale said he supports the stay-at-home order County Judge Chris Hill, the commissioners and city mayors crafted Monday evening.
The order says Collin County residents should stay at home — unless they have an essential reason — but allows businesses to remain open.
During a news conference Tuesday, Hill repeated several times, “All businesses and all jobs and all workers are essential,” to the economy. Businesses will not be required to shut down unless they cannot follow guidelines that require individuals to remain six feet apart and prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people.
Hill was asked if that means a boutique on the square in McKinney could remain open, and he said yes, as long as it meets the guidelines and can provide essential goods.
Commissioner Hale said the order isn’t much different from Dallas County’s — which ordered residents to stay home and businesses deemed “nonessential” to close.
Collin County is allowing businesses to choose when and if they want to close, rather than being forced to, he said.
“I’d ask people to try to point out what’s really different between the Dallas order and our order,” Hale said. “It’s not a gigantic difference other than we’re putting the decision into people’s hands to act responsibly and not having the government picking and choosing who’s winning or losing as far as putting people out of work. We aren’t deciding which businesses are important. We are letting the people decide that, and we are letting business owners decide that. “
He said that some small businesses, such as boutiques, would likely close, but that leniency is important because businesses could close temporarily and re-open after adapting to carry essential items.
“The businesses that are still open are going to scale back a lot,” Hale said. “They know they won’t be able to employ as many people. But those are still jobs that are available, whereas, it’s a guarantee if the government shuts you down, that you are shut down.”
Hale said he believes many business owners will choose to close without steady traffic or because they want to focus on their health and family. He also said employees are still ordered to work from home if they can and stay at home if they show symptoms related to the virus.
If changes with the spread of the coronavirus demand a stricter shelter-in-place order that forces businesses to close, Hale said he would consider one.
There are currently 45 cases in Collin County, and eight have successfully recovered, Hale said. He said he expects the number to increase as more testing happens and through community transmission.
“A [complete] shelter-in-place order is just not the need for now,” Hale said. “Basically, if it’s not essential for you to be out, it is ordered for you to go home and stay at home.”