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Harris County “Stay Home, Work Safe”

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — After announcing the extension of Harris County’s ‘Stay Home, Work Safe,’ order Judge Lina Hidalgo addressed some of the regulations included in the extension expected to last until June 10.

Hidalgo said two sets of rules are for the safety of workers. One set rules covers public-facing workers such as retail and restaurant employees and another set is in place for employees in the manufacturing sector.

The guidelines announced are designed to lift the real dangers and sheer fear that workers are exposed to and suffer day-to-day, according to Hidalgo.

“No construction worker should appear at work sick because they fear retaliation,” Hidalgo said. “No restaurant worker should work without a face covering.”

When it comes to manufacturing and construction workers, some of the rules include that companies should provide 15 minute breaks at least every four hours. Another rule includes allowing breaks for to take care of hygiene needs.

Rules for public-facing service workers include rest breaks once an hour to take care of hygienic responsibilities.

According to Hidalgo, manufacturing businesses and public-facing services companies should designate a safety monitor to oversee these guidelines.

“In Harris County, no one should have to decide on being sick and putting food on your table,” Hidalgo said.

The importance of COVID-19 testing was addressed as Dr. Umair Shah with the Harris County Health Department stated that they want to be able to identify where the cases are.

As of Thursday afternoon’s press conference, Hidalgo announced there were 47 new cases and two new deaths related to the coronavirus outside of Houston. Harris County has crossed over the 10,000-case mark and has 200 deaths.

“The only reason we haven’t seen it as bad here as Italy and New York is (because) we’ve done social distancing. We’ve done our work,” Hidalgo said.

During the press conference, Hidalgo assured the order conforms with Gov. Greg Abbott’s order, “Im very much committed to staying aligned with the parameters he issues,” she said.

Hidalgo also stated that she does not want to send the wrong message to the community and that the virus can still spread without proper social distancing.

“We have to remember, even though this is a long running disaster – uncomfortable, we’re all tired – the virus is still out there and it does spread through close contact,” she said.

The extension of the order comes as business and bars, aquariums and bowling alleys prepare to reopen on Friday with restrictions.

Once the order is signed, full details will be available at ReadyHarris.org.

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