BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Cameron County has been issuing fines as officials enforce the county’s shelter-in-place order.
With it, rules of having less than 3 people per vehicle are causing concern since schools mandate children must be present in vehicles to receive meals.
Both local authorities and school districts say you will not be getting a ticket for taking your child to your local school.
Angel Lopez, with the Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) Food and Nutrition Department, says picking up food is considered essential.
The state allows schools to give out food to any child under the age of 18 regardless of whether they are enrolled in the district or not.
“I know that there has been some concerns with the amount of people that come in the car/vehicle,” says Lopez. “To our understanding, children are allowed to come with their parents to pick up their meals.”
Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio began tougher enforcement for vehicles with more than 3 passengers on April 1.
Local authorities will continue to follow the county mandate with caution despite the county’s efforts to get more people off the roads.
“We understand,” says Lucio. “Police officers will understand. The mere fact that we stopped 235 vehicles and only 27 got a citation means that they are using common sense. We are using common sense.”
Those traveling at night, or during non-school hours, will likely be questioned by police.
Even then, it’s difficult for authorities to fine families for essential activities like picking up meals.
“To me, it doesn’t make sense that the state continues to enforce that mandate on our local school districts,” says Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. “I wish they would at least give a waiver, in any event, if that’s the case right now and it continues to be the case, then that is obviously a sufficient excuse.”
Lucio tells us they are approaching this rule on a case by case basis.
He recommends that if you do not need to be out, stay home and help prevent the spread of the virus.