EDINBURG – In conjunction with a move by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez issued his Third Amended Emergency Order aimed at the reopening of select services.

The five-page order, which went into effect at midnight Thursday and remains in effect until midnight on April 30, lays out provisions for accommodating Governor Abbott’s mandate to allow nonessential retail operations to begin functioning on delivery or carry out basis. Those retail outlets that are not considered essential and do not have the ability to sell merchandise that may be mailed, delivered, or picked up curbside are still prevented from reopening.

“My decision to limit certain business activities in Hidalgo County was based on sound medical advice and the primary concern was the well-being of our citizens,” Judge Cortez said. “Thankfully, the number of those testing positive for COVID-19 remains generally low and I have always been mindful of the impact these orders are having on people.”

Under his orders, signed late Thursday, retail operations that had not previously fallen under the “essential” operations classification may now begin operations “provided through pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep” in compliance with terms set out by the Texas Department of State Health Services as well as guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The amended order also relaxes earlier prohibitions in the medical field and will now allow elective medical, surgical and dental procedures to commence.

Existing prohibitions regarding dining and bar facilities will remain in place; existing curfews shall remain in effect; people should abide by physical distancing rules; and restrictions placed on nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities shall remain in effect.

“We must constantly look for ways to return our economy to some semblance of normalcy while balancing it against public safety,” Judge Cortez said. “This is a positive first step in that direction.”