Protect residents of Collin County

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Photo credits: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0.

On Tuesday, March 24, Collin County Judge Chris Hill presented his newest order meant to protect residents of the county from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, his guidelines do little to accomplish this goal and increase the confusion for many residents and cities. Judge Hill needs to update his order immediately to align with all of the surrounding counties. 

The Collin County order differs primarily because it is not a true "Shelter-in-Place" order, as we have seen in Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, and many other neighboring counties. Judge Hill classified all businesses, except entertainment, as "essential," allowing them to stay open. He says "all workers are essential," and simply asks everyone to work from home if possible

Judge Hill cited the "financial health and well-being of our local economy" as one of the major reasons for his unique order. No other local county made exceptions for business like Collin County. Instead, most have fines or jail time for violating the Shelter-in-Place measures. They value the physical and mental health of their citizens more than the financial health of the local economy.

While problematic itself, this disparity between Collin County and neighboring counties creates even more problems for cities. For example, Frisco, which is split between Denton and Collin counties, decided Tuesday evening to "use the more detailed definitions as outlined in the Denton County order unless otherwise instructed or ordered by Collin County." 

County officials, specifically Judge Hill and the local Mayors he met with, need to reconvene and update this order immediately to prioritize the health of Collin County residents now and fix the economy later, exactly what other counties in North Texas, states in the US, and countries around the world are doing. 

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