Texas Town Unilaterally Re-Opens from Coronavirus Lockdown

Modern restaurant terrace in the summer
File Photo: Getty Images

One Texas town declared itself re-opened for business after weeks of lockdown for Coronavirus concerns. The mayor of Colleyville issued a proclamation to re-open the Fort Worth suburb effective Friday, April 24.

Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton amended the city’s disaster declaration to re-open businesses on Friday. The order allows dine-in service in the outdoor areas of restaurants and other types of businesses to re-open on a limited basis, according to NBC5.

The proclamation from the mayor says, in part:

  1. Retail stores that were not deemed “essential services” under previous orders could now be open to allow customers to pick-up orders. Delivery by mail or delivery to a customer’s doorstep are also allowed as long as social distancing is practiced.
  2. In-person visits to gyms, massage establishments, salons, and other businesses described as “hands-on” may be utilized on a “one-on-one” basis by appointment only. Gyms may conduct classes of ten or fewer students as long as social distancing is practiced.
  3. Restaurants with outside patio areas may allow customers to dine on-site as long a tables provide for social distancing.

The move by the Colleyville mayor comes in advance of any similar order from the State of Texas and is apparently causing confusion or opposition in neighboring communities.

Neighboring Southlake Mayor Karen Hill told MSN, “Our businesses are panicking. They don’t know what is going on.”

Tarrant County Executive Officer Glen Whitley told the news outlet he is not sure if the Colleyville order is even legal under state emergency orders. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the mayor’s order is indeed legal. Governor Abbott’s office refused to intervene.

“Why shouldn’t I be able to sit at that table and eat?” Mayor Newton, a 71-year-old electrical engineer, told MSN by phone from City Hall. “Most of the businesses in Colleyville are small, locally owned. It’s the smaller guys that are really getting killed. As long as the data supports it, we want to give them the opportunity.”

Colleyville businesses are now scrambling to re-open while providing a safe environment for customers and employees.

“We’re going to see some creative openings, to get that revenue flowing,” Colleyville Chamber of Commerce President Chelsea Rose told the news outlet.

One hairstylist said they are already taking reservations for one-on-one appointments. She says she plans to disinfect her shop between clients and will wear a mask and gloves. She also said she will keep the front door locked to prevent walk-ins.

MSN reported that only about half of the city’s residents support the re-opening move. Meanwhile, Newton promises to monitor the situation and make rapid changes if a spike returns.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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