Courthouse to open for public Monday

Posted 4/28/20

The Madison County Courthouse will reopen to the public Monday after weeks of closure due to the social distancing related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Courthouse to open for public Monday

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The Madison County Courthouse will reopen to the public Monday after weeks of closure due to the social distancing related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In my estimation, it’s time to get back to work,” County Judge Tony Leago said at the regular meeting of the County Commssioners Monday.

Commissioners also extended the county’s emergency Stay Safe order, which asks residents to stay in their homes unless on essential business, though local orders have been superseded by a reopening plan from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled later that day.

Like most public meetings since early March, the bulk of Monday’s County Commissioners meeting was focused on COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus. County residents had a chance to get tested Friday for the virus at the MCISD bus barn, though only 20 people took advantage.

“It was well attended, although when you consider the number of people (in the county), and less than 30 people took advantage of that,” Leago said. “We’ve been very fortunate in this county (with so few cases).”

According to Madison County Emergency Coordinator Shelly Butts, there have been 50 tests performed in the county. Of those, 23 tests still have pending results, including those from state testing Friday.

During Monday’s meeting, once again open to the public via the Zoom streaming service, Leago suggested the county needed a more aggressive stance to reopening than other counties in Texas have shown.

“I think we have a responsibility to reach out and get people back to work,” he said. “There are counties out there talking about months before doing anything.

“It’s not healthy, physically healthy or psychologically healthy to sit in the house all the time.”

In larger Texas counties this month, more restrictive orders led to “end the lockdown” protests. Lawsuits sprung up over an order requiring face covering in Harris County, now defanged by the states phased reopening.

Leago said Monday that he would never require residents to wear any kind of mask.

“I encourage people to wear a mask if they’re comfortable with it,” he said. “I just don’t believe it’s my place to say ‘you’ve got to wear a mask in public.’”

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