Social distance practices and shelter in place directives from county judges appear to be having the effect intended. At least one Rio Grande Valley city reports significant declines in vehicular traffic.
The City of McAllen reports a nearly 70 percent drop in normal vehicular traffic at two of its busiest intersections. Those locations are 2nd Street and Nolana Avenue and Ware Road and Nolana. Both intersections as of March 28 and 29 have each seen traffic declines of 69 percent.
Those numbers indicate a significant majority of local residents are adhering to the guidance given by local and county officials to stay at home. Neither of the county judges in Hidalgo and Cameron counties, however, appear to believe it’s enough.
Judges hint more restrictions coming
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said he may have to enact tougher measures to keep more people at home. He acknowledged the lower traffic volumes, but said it needs to drop further.
“I think we would all agree that traffic may have slowed, but not to the levels we had hoped,” said Cortez, a former McAllen mayor. “I would recommend even more restrictions when we’ve reached the level of enforcement with current restrictions that we are comfortable with.”
In Brownsville, Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino said he may have to resort some sort of checkpoint enforcement if more residents don’t stay at home.
“Even though we’ve made it mandatory, people still can’t seem to understand how serious this is,” Trevino said. “We’re trying to get ahead of this.”
Both of shelter in place orders of both county judges include long lists of exemptions. These include businesses and governmental offices considered essential to daily life. As of March 31, there were 79 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Rio Grande Valley. Hidalgo County had 46, Cameron County 26, Starr County five and Willacy County had two.