COLLEYVILLE, Texas - The city of Colleyville is moving forward with relaxing restrictions on businesses and churches before Tarrant County and the state of Texas do the same.
Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton amended the city’s disaster proclamation effective Monday. Most notably, it allows churches to reopen effective immediately and hold services while following social distancing guidelines.
Starting Friday, restaurants can reopen their patio areas as long as there is appropriate space between tables. Places like gyms, salons and massage therapist offices can reopen for one-on-one service by appointment only. The city will also allow small group gatherings of 10 people or less even if they are not related.
To date there have been 14 cases of COVID-19 in Colleyville, no deaths and four people have fully recovered. The low incidence is part of the reasoning the mayor and city leaders cite for moving ahead to lift restrictions.
Mayor Newton told FOX 4 while he’s closely listening to advice from the president, governor and county leaders, believes it should ultimately be up to local leaders.
“Each one of us need to make decisions that are right for their city,” he said. “I don’t think the government can make every decision for everyone. We’re not going to get out of this that way.”
The changes come despite the fact that Tarrant County’s stay-at-home order remains in effect through April 30.
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While Gov. Greg Abbott said he believes Colleyville’s amendments are consistent with his revised statewide orders, Tarrant County Judge Glenn Whitley voiced frustration.
“I think it’s important that we be consistent. That’s why I wish we could all stay on the same page. We spent a lot of time talking with each other up until the end of last week,” Whitley said on Tuesday. “When somebody goes out and says I’m going to do contrary to what the governor and local city and the county, that makes things a little more difficult.”
Speaking with FOX 4's Clarice Tinsley on Tuesday, the governor said his office is looking into whether or not Colleyville is breaking any guidelines.
"The attorney general will send some directive to make sure we're all working on the same page,” Abbott said.
Newton has said the city is following the guidance of Trump and Abbott and interpreting their orders
“Any chance we have to interpret Governor Abbott’s order to give them some opportunity to do business is very important to them,” Newton said.
Judge Whitley and county commissioners agreed on Tuesday to allow elective surgeries to resume and car dealerships to reopen, but added a plan for reopening other businesses is still in the works.
“We had a lot of talk today about lessening those restrictions and I think that's something that will come in the next three to four weeks. But that doesn't mean we can let up right now,” Whitley said.
Health Director Dr. Vinny Taneja as well pointed out that officials are still working to stop the spread of COVID-19 and he believes now is too soon to begin the process of reopening the economy.
“The message for now is to stay at home, you don’t need to be out unless its critical for your work or your family,” Taneja said.