Shelby County Commissioners' Court ratifies local disaster declaration in response to COVID-19/coronavirus

Judge Harbison pledges to keep officials, residents up to date on any changes in status of pandemic at the local level

The Shelby County Commissioners' Court met Wednesday morning and unanimously ratified the county's Declaration of Local Disaster issued by Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison late last week in response to the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak.

She said the declaration had to be ratified within seven days to remain valid. Upon the motion of Commissioner Roscoe McSwain the commissioners approved ratifying the disaster declaration.

Harbison said the action supports what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has done to move forward with caution on the state level.

“This was done to support the governor,” Harbison said of the declaration. “And to also give law enforcement a little more teeth, that if someone was having a big blowout somewhere, a keg party or whatever, they'd have something to fall back on locally.”

Any additional action at the local county level in response to the pandemic will be done with the backing of the commissioners' court, she said.

I will tell you that I will not do anything further than what the governor is doing,” she said. Harbison said she does not plan to take additional action such as calling for curfews, or a stay-at-home orders for the county.

“I want to make sure we're all involved,” she said. “I think it's important that people who need to get to work are able to get to work. And, I think we're really doing well … and remaining calm.”

McSwain said it is important for rural America to keep working to supply food and other resources needed.

Harbison said it is important that vital local employers, such as nursing homes and food processing plants like Tyson Foods, have the workers they need.

She said there have been no cases of COVID-19/coronavirus reported locally. Harbison stressed that common sense and caution should be kept in mind as Shelby County residents adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic.

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