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Parker County judge urges governor to allow more local control as he hopes to get his county back to work

Right now, Parker County has 20 cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths in a county with 140,000 people. Deen believes Parker County is ready to go back to work now.

As state leaders make plans to re-open Texas, leaders in Parker County are hoping to get the governor’s attention. Parker County Judge Pat Deen posted on Facebook Monday sharing his hope that Gov. Greg Abbott would allow local leaders to make decisions about when to re-open specific counties.

“Local control means a lot because the businesses in Parker County are very unique to Parker County,” Deen said. “We’re not going to do anything that we feel like is going to spread this virus even further.”

Deen said his county has formed a task force made up of police, medical, city, and county leaders that will evaluate the best path forward. Right now, Parker County has 20 cases and zero deaths in a county with 140,000 people. Deen believes Parker County is ready to go back to work now.

“It’s not going to be life as it was before this thing started,” Deen said. “I cannot stress enough that we would do this with safeguards in place, working with employers with protocols that would allow their employees to come back to work in a way that is safe and does not put them at risk.”

On Friday, Gov. Abbott held a press conference announcing plans to re-open Texas in the coming weeks. The Republican judge said he has nothing but respect for the Republican governor and understands the stressful situation ongoing, but he just hopes Abbott gives local authorities more control to open sooner if appropriate.

“I cannot even fathom the pressure that is on Governor Abbott,” Deen said. “I have all the respect in the world for him.”

Stories like Sherry Watters are the reason Deen wants to get people back to work. Watters has run a small business boutique in Weatherford for more than 30 years and she’s seen a 90% reduction in profits since the pandemic started.

“It shut my doors pretty much. It shut me down,” Watters said. “It’s just unbelievable and I have to pay bills. I have to pay my electric, my telephone, all that.”

Watters thinks the challenges Dallas County faces are far different than the experience in Parker County.

“We’ve got space. Everybody’s got at least an acre in town, we just don’t have what Dallas has, we don’t have that many people,” Watters added.

Deen said his county is prepared to work together to get people back to business while staying healthy.

“I think that we can get some of these people back to work and still maintain those safeguards and some of those standards to minimize the threat of this virus,” Deen said.

More on WFAA:

Fort Worth mayor self-quarantines after being in 'close contact' with COVID-19 positive case

Oil price goes negative as demand collapses; Wall Street dips

North Texas businesses prepare for 'retail to go' amid coronavirus pandemic

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