As cities and counties declare or extend declarations of disaster, Republican state Sen. Robert Nichols has asked that they refrain from issuing shelter-in-place ordinances.

As of Tuesday, neither Angelina County nor any of the cities within the county had announced shelter-in-place ordinances. The county and city of Hudson both extended their disaster declarations for 35 and 30 days, respectively.

“Before implementing a shelter-in-place ordinance, I would ask cities and counties to consider a measured and targeted data-driven response based on the number of cases and their locations,” he said in a press release.

“All while taking into consideration the local workforce and allowing the last remaining local businesses, which are providing services to our local communities, to remain open as they adhere to best practices for preventing the spread of this virus.”

In his release, Nichols said studies have shown how social distancing is a successful tool to prevent the spread of this virus. He said businesses capable of having employees work from home should continue to do that, too.

“However, not all businesses have this luxury and many across the state have been forced to lay off employees, or close their doors with very little hope they will be able to reopen again when this virus passes,” he said.

“This means that many Texans are not able to pay their bills or buy groceries for their families.”

He said businesses that can continue to operate shouldn’t be forced to close their doors, especially where the region’s needy will continue to rely upon them.

“We have already taken diligent measures to help prevent the spread of this virus and flatten the curve by closing schools and colleges, and prohibiting social gatherings more than 10 such as at churches, theaters and sporting events,” he said. “These businesses are the lifeblood of our state.

“Texas is strong and we will remain so, however, to do this we must make sure we are supporting our local economies, ensuring Texans are able to support themselves, their employees and their families.”

Jess Huff’s email address is jess.huff@lufkindailynews.com.

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