Piece of Mind: Counties Are Stepping Up

Mar 23, 2020

By John Kanelis

Hunt County commissioners have joined a growing list of counties that have done what needs to be done: mandating "shelter in place" for residents.

They are reacting as they should in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has circled the globe. 

Hunt County won't be the final county. You can take that to the bank.

Shelter in place isn't anything approaching house arrest. It means we can still venture out, run essential errands, such as going to grocery store for food and other necessary goods. 

These orders, though, do have the effect of keeping us away from each other, which is a compelling element in finding a way to stem the spread of the virus. Social distancing has become a new term of art. It describes the six-foot minimum distance that medical professionals say we need to follow to avoid "community spread" of the virus.

Dallas County has enacted shelter in place, as have officials in many other counties throughout Texas. My home county, Collin, hasn't yet made that call. I wrote an item on my own blog, High Plains Blogger, asking County Judge Chris Hill to make that declaration for Collin County. Something tells me he is going to make the move.

These measures need to be enacted. They also need to be enforced. They also require a bit of common sense among the folks they affect the most. That would be you and me. I hate that it's come to this, that government bodies need to issue orders that tell us what we all ought to know to do in the first place.

But if that's what it takes, then so be it.

John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.

Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.