While Gov. Greg Abbott continues to tease Texans about when he may finally end oppressive statewide mandates issued under his nearly year-long emergency declared in response to the Chinese coronavirus, one local official has lifted his COVID disaster declaration.
On Friday, Collin County Judge Chris Hill rescinded the Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency he issued in March of last year.
Hill never shut down the local economy, declaring instead that “all businesses, jobs, and workers are essential.”
Hill’s local directive was later superseded by Abbott’s statewide shutdown—one of 25 executive orders related to COVID-19 that Abbott has issued using emergency powers.
Last April, Hill called on the governor to get Texans back to work and eliminate his artificial distinction between essential and non-essential businesses so all Texans could provide for their families.
“Constitutionally protected rights do not cease to exist in the midst of a crisis,” Hill said in today’s proclamation.
While Hill’s order clarifies “there are no county-issued emergency orders, forced closures, or government mandates in Collin County,” the governor’s orders remain in effect.
At a press conference on Thursday, Abbott declined to say when he would lift his unilateral executive orders that have crushed businesses and trampled Texans’ individual freedoms.
“We’re working right now on evaluating when we’re going to be able to remove all statewide orders, and we will be making announcements about that pretty soon,” Abbott said.
Here is Judge Hill’s full proclamation:
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, I issued a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency for Collin County in response to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, ongoing business closures and government-imposed restrictions have threatened the lives, livelihoods, and liberties of Texans; and
WHEREAS, on March 24, 2020, I declared that “All businesses, jobs, and workers are essential;” and
WHEREAS, constitutionally protected rights do not cease to exist in the midst of a crisis, and executive orders are (and must always be) subordinate to the provisions of the Constitution; and
WHEREAS, there are no county-issued emergency orders, forced closures, or government mandates in Collin County;
NOW, THEREFORE, I hereby rescind and cancel the Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency for Collin County.
Proclaimed this 26th day of February 2021.
Collin County Judge