Smith County residents could face fines or time in jail for not following the mandatory stay at home order issued by Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran on Thursday.

The order restricting movement in the county to essential activities is in place for two weeks.

The order is part of a local strategy to slow the spread of coronavirus in East Texas.

Failure to comply will be considered an “imminent threat to public health,” the order says. The penalty is a fine of no more than $1,000, or up to 180 days in jail.

Smith County residents may only leave their residences to perform activities deemed essential or to do jobs deemed essential.

Essential activities, as defined in the order, include going out to meet medical needs or to get food, household supplies and other things needed to stay at or work from home.

The order does not apply to those who have to leave home for work connected to the healthcare industry and those connected to critical infrastructure and government functions.

The order also allows parents to pick up assignments or meals for their children from schools and it allows people to engagement in activities outdoors as long as they practice social distancing of staying 6 feet away from others.

The stay at home order does not apply to those who work in:

  • Health care
  • Businesses involved in critical infrastructure
  • Most grocery-related stores and businesses that store and ship products sold in stores
  • Businesses that produce food
  • Businesses organizations that help the needy
  • The media
  • Gas stations and auto repair shops
  • Financial institutions
  • Hardware and construction supply sores
  • Businesses that make or sell firearms or ammunition
  • Businesses that perform services, such as plumbing, essential to maintaining a residence
  • Business that provide mailing and shipping services
  • Businesses related to laundry services.
  • Restaurants that are only offering delivery, drive-thru or carry out
  • Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home
  • Businesses that supply products for other essential businesses
  • Delivery and transportation services
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults or children
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults and children
  • Professional services, including legal, accounting, insurance and real estate
  • Janitorial and maintenance services
  • Mortuary-related services

“Even with this order, many necessary activities of daily living and many functions of life will still continue,” Moran said in issuing the order. “In each of those circumstances, individual decision making is crucial if this community truly wants to stop the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands frequently, keep your physical distance, watch for signs of infections and call ahead to your doctor before you go seek treatment.”

Danny Mogle has covered news in East Texas for decades. He currently focuses on arts, entertainment and human interest stories and serves as the editor of Lifestyles Magazine.

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