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Moore County Judge Rowdy Rhoades signs an extension of the coronavirus (COVID-19) declaration of disaster for the county during the Moore County Commissioners' Court Monday.  The commissioners voted to extend the declaration until April 19.

The Moore County Commissioners voted unanimously on Monday during their regular commissioners' court to extend until April 19 the disaster declaration that Moore County Judge Rowdy Rhoades initially signed into effect on Friday.  The declaration bans social gatherings of 10 people or more and closes bars and restaurant dining rooms, among other things.  (See "Moore County declares coronavirus (COVID-19").  It also makes the county eligible to receive any relief money the state and federal governments make available to help local entities deal with the cost of the pandemic.  

Rhoades had the authority to sign the declaration into effect for seven days, but the county commissioners had to vote and add their signatures to extend it beyond that.  The commissioners can vote to rescind the declaration before April 19, if conditions warrant, and they can continue to extend it, if necessary.

Moore County Emergency Management Coordinator Tommy Brooks told the commissioners that he was continuing to meet with the various entities of the county to make sure they were ready to deal with any issue that might arise, should Moore County start having confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  He added that he and his staff were reaching out to those persons registered with his office as having special needs to make sure they were being taken care of during the current crisis.  (Moore County residents with special needs can register with Brooks' office (806-934-9520), so that in the event of any kind of emergency or disaster -- tornado, fire, epidemic, and others -- county emergency personnel will know to look after them.)  He said people with questions or wanting information about the current crisis and preparations to deal with it could call his office.

Moore county Clerk Brenda McKanna told the commissioners that the state had postponed the party primary runoff election scheduled for May.  It will take place on July 14, if conditions allow.  Early voting will begin on July 6 and last until July 10.  

McKanna also said that the only door through which the public can now enter the Moore County Courthouse is the southern one.  She added that, in order to limit exposure to possible infections, both her office and the office of the Moore County District Clerk now require customers to make an appointment to do business in either office, unless they have a court hearing on that date.  She said staff from both offices would continue to assist judges, attorneys, and other court personnel.  In addition, in a notice posted on the door of the courthouse, she stated that persons who receive an appointment should not bring anyone with them who is not involved in the case, especially children or anyone under 18.  Finally, she requests that those who are sick or showing symptoms of illness not come to the courthouse.  Payments should be made by telephone.

The Moore County Library system is now closed to the public; only online services are available.  In addition, the office of the Moore County Tax Assessor/Collector is closed to the public, though employees are still working.  Payments should be made either at the drive-up window or online.  There is also an "after hours" depository on the front of the building.

Cassie Hataway of JBS told the commissioners that the company was providing sack lunches to children for $1.00 and selling  meat directly to employees who have to work and are unable to shop before grocery stores are cleared out.  She said the company was producing meat six and seven days a week and that the pandemic had not slowed production, though the company had stepped up efforts to try to keep workers from becoming infected.

In non-coronavirus business, the commissioners acknowledged the spending of $6,520 of money from the 69th Judicial District Attorney's seized assets fund to pay for a new identification card machine for the Emergency Operations Center.  The machine replaces one with software no longer supported by the vendor.  The machine is used to make identification cards for all county employees and first responders.

The commissioners voted to spend $529.99 for shelving for the Moore County Clerk's office to be used for elections.

Finally, the commissioners voted to re-authorize the spending of $2,150.00 to Kel-Tex for the replacement of an electrical panel with switches on the road and bridge department's crusher.  The expenditure was originally approved in 2017, but Kel-Tex never sent a bill, so the money was never paid.  Company officials only recently discovered their error.

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