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A Texas appeals court temporarily halted a county judge's order Thursday that mandates the closure of non-essential businesses in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The request to the Eighth Court of Appeals was filed by state Attorney General Ken Paxton and restaurant owners, who sought to strike down portions of El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego's lockdown measures.
The ruling temporarily halts the business closures and a nightly curfew. The court said the orders can't be enforced until it makes a final decision, which is expected Friday.
Paxton and the restaurant owners contend the orders conflict with statewide measures enacted by Gov. Greg Abbott.
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"I commend the Eighth Court of Appeals for stopping El Paso County Judge Samaniego’s shutdown order – pending the final decision on the merits. It is important that we do not shutdown the economy ever again," Paxton tweeted.
The El Paso County Attorney's Office said it was reviewing the court ruling.
Samaniego extended his shutdown order last week through Dec. 1, worrying businesses already hurting from the economic burden caused by COVID-19. The order requres businesses, including restaurants with regard to in-person dining, gyms and hair salons, to close to prevent the spreading of the virus.
"Every day that the county's order remains in effect is another day that we can save lives," Samaniego said at a Wednesday news conference, the El Paso Times reported.
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Last week, a court rejected motions by Paxton and the restaurant owners to temporarily halt the shutdown order, which prompted the appeal.
El Paso County reported 976 new coronavirus cases Thursday, as well as 29 deaths, according to the newspaper.
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