Victoria OEM prioritizing social distancing in decision to re-open local economy

VICTORIA, Texas — Victoria Office of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel said at Monday’s COVID-19 press briefing that social distancing will remain a top priority as the county undertakes efforts to reopen the local economy.

County Judge Ben Zeller said he believes some businesses that have not been deemed “essential” — and therefore have been forced to close — could reopen safely if social distancing guidelines are adhered to.

“In no way do I want to diminish our effort to control the spread of this virus, but at the same time balance is also important,” Zeller said on Monday. “Like I’ve said previously, we can’t allow our effort to control the spread of this to become the enemy of everything else we hold important.”

Zeller added that while he believes the county can form its own recovery plan, he hopes Governor Greg Abbott continues to provide leadership at a state level for a plan to gradually reopen Texas to all forms of commerce.

“I don’t think it’s essential that we be in lockstep with everything that we get from Washington, or from Austin frankly,” said Zeller. “But we’re monitoring what they say because that certainly does impact us.”

The comments came as Zeller and Victoria Mayor Rawley McCoy both expressed a desire to start the process of reopening the local economy, despite the Governor’s executive order that remains in place.

Victoria Public Health Director David Gonzalez said at the briefing that the county reported one new positive case of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing Victoria County’s active total to 34. A total of 96 cases have been reported in the county, with 60 patients deemed “fully recovered”.

Gonzalez added that he’s reminding employers not to require asymptomatic workers to take a COVID-19 test before returning to work to avoid the possibility of false negatives.


This is a developing story. We will update it as more information becomes available.