2020: Essential jobs, to-go margaritas
Last updated 3/31/2020 at Noon
For The Record
With apologies to the tens of thousands of Southeast Texans who worked in the hospitality, retail sales or personal care businesses until recently, sometimes it appears like everybody down here on the Gulf Coast has an “essential” job.
The list of essential businesses exempted from the Orange County Stay at Home order is essentially the same as the ones listed by the Texas Department of Emergency Management.
It includes healthcare and public health, of course; law enforcement and other first responders, duh.
The TDEM list also includes food and agriculture; energy; water, wastewater; transportation; public works, infrastructure support; communications, information technology; other community- and government-based operations; critical manufacturing; hazardous materials; financial services; chemical; defense industrial; commercial facilities; residential/shelter facilities and services; hygiene products and services.
Here’s a vote for social distancing.
When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott set forth travel restrictions on our Louisiana neighbors to go into effect Monday, the list of exceptions far outnumbered the amount that would be affected if there was a reasonable way to enforce it.
The order exempted commercial truckers and those in the military, health or emergency responders or critical infrastructure. Residents of Texas that work in essential functions in Louisiana and vice versa will be allowed to come and go.
Abbott’s order instructed travelers entering the state by road to fill out a form with their quarantine location and contact information.
The highway signs on either side of the state line warning Louisiana travelers they face quarantine will certainly cause many casual day-trippers to turn around.
Or they will for as long as it takes word to get out that Texas isn’t really enforcing the governor’s order.
Right now, state troopers are also supposed to be stationed inside airports to intercept and order two-week quarantines for air travelers from New York, California, Louisiana, Connecticut, Washington, Miami, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta.
Unless they are “essential” workers.
Texas has more than 54,000 state troopers, according to Wikipedia. That comes out to more than 200 per county.
Speaking of exemptions, someone in Orange County’s Administration Building Tuesday asked an elected official if it seemed weird that restaurants were closed and liquor stores remain open.
He answered that it wouldn’t be safe for the public if liquor stores closed.
Meanwhile, construction crews and lawn maintenance workers are getting a lot done. And some homeowners have a lot more time to devote to their yards.
Education – both educators and students and maybe a parent or two -- will never be the same.
Traffic is way down.
Chick-Fil-A is about ready to open. That should create some traffic. Hopefully, the bridge builders next door will finish first.
Restaurants that don’t normally do a lot of to-go sales have become really innovative with their menus and customer approaches.
I talked to an essential-job working mother-of-three who will be home-schooling her kids at nights until at least May 1.
She heartily endorses the to-go margaritas that come with a Tex-Mex dinner from an “innovative” local restaurant.
Blizzards are still available at Dairy Queen. For now. The city’s new KFC has a steady flow of customers.
“Patience and perseverance,” Bridge City superintendent Todd Lintzen urged his parents Tuesday.
It would well serve us all over the next however-many months.
And if you find some free time, go to my2020census.gov and spend five minutes filling out your census form.
Your neighbors will eventually thank you.
Hopefully, they’ll even be allowed to shake your hand.