Victoria County issues new, less restrictive COVID-19 orders

County reports eight new positive cases, second COVID-19 related death on Wednesday

VICTORIA, Texas — At Wednesday’s COVID-19 press briefing, Victoria County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel announced the county’s second coronavirus-related death since the outbreak of the pandemic. The victim, a male in his 70’s, had been hospitalized in Victoria before passing away.

Victoria OEM announced eight new positive cases of COVID-19 in the county on Wednesday, upping the county’s total to 104. Public Health Authority Dr. John McNeill said 34 of those cases are considered active, with 66 patients having fully recovered.

Despite the moderate spike of new cases, Mayor Rawley McCoy and Judge Ben Zeller announced new, less-restrictive orders for Victoria County on Wednesday. The order, called “Stay Safe, Re-open Responsibly”, allows businesses previously deemed “non-essential” to re-open, provided they adhere to strict social distancing and other county guidelines. The orders will not impact those businesses shut down statewide by the Governor, such as bars, restaurants barber shops, and gyms.

Employees at establishments that will be allowed to reopen — and that have direct contact with consumers — will be required to wear a mask.

“What we’re saying is we can lessen these restrictions if we do it correctly and we do it carefully,” said McNeill. “This comes down to washing your hands, wearing those protective facial coverings and probably most importantly, personal responsibility.”

Zeller added the new orders were not the equivalent of an “all-clear” signal as it pertains to COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is still with us, it’s still contagious, it’s still here,” said Zeller. “But at the same time, I believe that protecting public health and protecting people’s jobs and livelihoods don’t need to be conflicting efforts.”

As it is currently written, the “Stay Safe, Re-open Responsibly” orders will take effect tonight at midnight, and run through April 30th.