Judge Moran made clear in his written guidelines to these non-grocery retailers that further and stronger enforcement action would be forthcoming if compliance did not occur.

Smith County Officials have been working with local businesses this week to clarify application of the terms of County Judge Nathaniel Moran’s “Stay at Home” Order issued March 27, and what steps those businesses must take to comply with that order, as well as the statewide order of the Governor from March 31.

Judge Moran, in coordination with the Smith County District Attorneys’ Office, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Tyler, contacted several industries throughout the week in a coordinated effort to educate those businesses on the terms of the governing orders and to ensure compliance. Those efforts continue.

On Friday, April 3, Judge Moran issued specific written guidelines to non-grocery retailers setting out acceptable practices to comply with the Governor’s Order and the Smith County Local Order. Judge Moran made clear in his written guidelines to these non-grocery retailers that further and stronger enforcement action would be forthcoming if compliance did not occur.

Essential businesses that are allowed to continue to operate still must practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness and sanitation, implement social distancing and work from home if possible, according to the Governor’s Order.

According to Judge Moran, “Although I anticipated that there would be a need to educate businesses about the terms of our local order, I have been surprised at the continued resistance of some retailers — especially national chain retailers — to comply with my order and that of the Governor. Our efforts to enforce compliance continue and will grow stronger if those businesses do not do the right thing by the community by complying with these orders.”

As it relates to retailers designated as “Essential Businesses,” Judge Moran’s guidelines specifically instructed them to: (1) limit access to the inside of any facility open to the public to no more than 100 persons or half of the permitted occupancy (including employees), whichever is less; and (2) take affirmative steps to ensure that any customer waiting in a queue, either inside or outside of the physical retail store location, does not violate the social distancing guidelines set forth by the CDC.

To make a complaint about a business, call the non-emergency local law enforcement agency for that area. For the city of Tyler, call 903-531-1000. For Smith County, call 903-566-6600. Complainants can also send an email to covid19@smith-county.com.

Judge Moran reminded the public that the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19, is to avoid going to any location where a large number of other members of the public will be, and to continue practicing the health and safety guidelines of the CDC by limiting in-person contact, washing your hands frequently, and keeping at least six feet away from others.