Walker County has extended the state of public health disaster declaration for its residents. Commissioners Court meetings will be held on Mondays to give a weekly update on the virus and revisit the declaration as the situation unfolds.
The declaration provides the county judge and city mayor with powers they usually might not have, like the ability to make emergency purchases. Precinct 3 Commissioner Bill Daugette explained why the declaration was prudent.
“The emergency declaration is a necessary step taken by cities and counties so they can qualify for reimbursement from the state and federal government for costs associated with dealing with the disaster at hand, in this case the coronavirus,” Daugette said.
In addition to the declaration, Walker County has established a county-wide curfew for all residents from 11:59 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Daugette explained that the curfew is important in helping the local community during the declaration extension.
“One, folks just weren’t taking the suggestion to stay home very seriously,” Daugette said. “Several cities and counties that surround us were experiencing the same problem [and] issued ‘stay at home’ orders to try to remedy the problem.”
At this time, Walker County Judge Danny Pierce has decided not to place a “stay-at-home” order on the county.
“The curfew is a good midway point between no regulation and a ‘stay-at-home’ order and appears to be effective for our county,” Daugette said.
With all the government restrictions, citizens may be wondering how it will affect the county in the long term. According to Daugette, the full impact of the restrictions may not be known until everything returns to normal.
“We will have to see how many businesses have survived, and how many residents were able to manage having been sent home from their jobs or working reduced hours,” Daugette said. “A large percentage of the workforce in Walker County is employed by the state, county or city, so the financial impact here is a little different than our neighboring counties.”
For more information regarding Walker County’s response to COVID-19, updates and documents are available here.